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Thursday, September 14, 2006
Iran Nuclear Talks Stalled: Confusion Abounds
The reasons for the postponement have not been announced, but it seems to be a result of dissension among various international powers on how to deal with the Iran situation.
A little bit of background: the UN Security Council issued a resolution (Resolution 1696) on July 31, 2006 insisting that Iran halt its uranium enrichment efforts by August 31, 2006, on which date the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) was to provide a report to the Security Council on whether Iran was still doing naughty things with ions.
The IAEA determined that (surprise, surprise) Iran had not halted its efforts.
The United States (surprise, surprise) is pushing very hard for sanctions to be immediately applied to Iran for failing to meet the UN deadline. Meanwhile, Russia and China are both very resistant to the idea of taking such stringent measure. And let's not forget France, Britain, and Germany, who are trying to move forward with diplomatic efforts and tone down the sanctions talk.
Iran has recently (as of Sunday September 10, 2006) indicated that it would be willing to halt its activities temporarily to facilitate diploatic talks. The US stance is that Iran is merely posturing to delay UN sanctions.
This is a sticky quagmire. Clearly, nobody wants Iran to develop nuclear capability (for the record, it's not clear that they are anywhere close to having such capability). The US feels that the UN should have some bite as well as bark, while the European consensus seems to be that the talks between the negotiators were getting somewhere.
My personal inclination, given the facts (not to mention the lack thereof as well) is that it would be best for the UN to put forth a united front pursuing diplomatic efforts and economic rewards for ceasing nuclear activity. Already there is misinformation in the US about Iran's true capabilities, which causes some apprehension both here in the US and abroad, given the events of the last 5 years.
A united and calm international front will ultimately be less threatening to a nation like Iran, which has historically proved itself to be quite ready to dig in its heels at the the first sign of a threat. Cooperation and diplomacy (done right) should be the name of the game now, with sanctions tabled for now, and military action a true last resort (and only in the event of some real provocation).
New York Times
UN Resolution 1696
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posted by arun at 1:44 AM
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