One must admit the new sanctions against Iran pushed by the United States government, in coordination with China and Russia, are too little too late. Washington does not intend to attack Iran.
Furthermore, the draft of sanctions the U.S. has suggested to China and Russia in an attempt to put an end to the Iranian nuclear race can also mean that Washington understands that the notion of a nuclear Iran is one that must be reconciled with.
Restricting the movement of leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (such as preventing them from taking ski vacations in Europe), or enforcing various insignificant financial restrictions, will certainly not stop the uranium enrichment programs at Iranian nuclear facilities.
Just yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama announced that there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and warned that the entire Middle East would be 'destabilized' if they succeed in attaining nuclear arms, and further trigger an arms race in the region.
Yet it is highly unlikely that Obama's chosen line of action to stop this growing trend will prove to be the right one. In an interview on CBS Obama stressed that a united international community will back the soon-to-be-approved sanctions against Iran.
That is true.
The President said that a nuclear Iran is not only bad for America's national security, but also for the entire world. An impelling proclamation, but not what is going to stop the Iranians.
The President went on to say that in time Iran's economy will be influenced by their actions. "We're going to ratchet up the pressure and examine how they respond but we're going to do so with a unified international community," Obama said.
The trouble is that time is exactly what is lacking in the equation. According to analysts across the globe, Iran will be able to manufacture nuclear warheads by the end of this year. Perhaps Tehran is not in any particular rush to produce nuclear weapons so as to avoid provocation. Yet while the Americans debate what to do with Iran after the expected failure of the current sanctions, the centrifuges will continue to enrich uranium in either the Natanz or Qom nuclear plants.
Furthermore, it must be noted that China, for its part, is in no hurry to accept Obama's flattery, and is maintaining an ambiguous standpoint. The spokesperson for China's foreign ministry in Beijing has reiterated his country's traditional stance, saying that they still prefer a diplomatic solution, which they will continue to stride to achieve. What does this mean? It is unclear. Perhaps Beijing does not accept even the draft of light sanctions.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can continue to smile.
And of course, Tehran did not hesitate to respond. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said after meetings in China that "In our talks with China it was agreed that tools such as sanctions have lost their effectiveness, " adding that ""Iranians are familiar with sanctions ... We consider sanctions as opportunities ... We will continue our [nuclear] path more decisively."
This is the standard and well known Iranian reply, which will continue to be Tehran's guideline as long as the U.S. administration persists to attempt to gain a supportive and sympathetic international community to back Oabam, rather than focusing on more decisive action to stop Iran's nuclear program.
And what about Israel? In the case in which nothing unforeseeable occurs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will threaten, warn, etc. However, without Washington's permission to proceed to attack Iran, which is currently nonexistent, Israel will also have to get used to the notion of a nuclear armed Iran.
Posted Avi Issacharoff on April 2, 2010
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