Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Claudia Rosett: Fiddling While Iran Builds the Bomb

The song and dance routine continues while Iran moves forward. I haven't heard Mahmoud babbling about wiping Israel off the map this week, so I guess we're due to hear from him before long.
It’s time to open an office pool on how many failed resolutions the UN will produce before Iran, on an industrial scale, gets the bomb. We’ve already had a UN resolution with an August 31 deadline — utterly ignored — for Iran to stop enriching uranium (according to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kofi Annan himself told the Iranians not to worry about it). This past weekend we got UN sanctions-lite, watered down to please Russia and China even before they are further filtered through an opaque and corrupt UN system. Iran responded by promising to fire up a whole new set of centrifuges and run them at top speed. Iran’s rulers have learned that the UN is, in effect, on their side — providing a Security Council stacked with their business partners and pals, a stage to dignify their propaganda, and a forum that protects them from surprise attack by requiring months, even years of debate, before even the weakest decisions can be reached.

If the UN were serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear-bomb program, then Iran’s swaggering abuses of recent times would have had members of the UN Security Council, seconded by Annan, calling, pleading, begging for the U.S., with its precision capabilities, to lead a bombing raid on Iranian targets dear to the hearts of the terrorist-spawning totalitarian ayatollahs and their globe-trotting totem, Ahmadinejad. Even if it’s impossible to track down every iota of Iran’s sprawling nuclear program, it ought to be at least feasible to target the known nuclear-related installations, assorted crucial ministries, and enough in the way of Iran’s oil-export and gasoline-import facilities to give Ahmadinejad & Co. a deadly serious message of disapproval, backed by a large repair bill — costing not only money, but the precious element of time. That would be far more fool-proof, not to mention bribe-proof, than anything that goes under the name of UN sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran pledges a unique form of cooperation.

Iran's parliament passed a bill on Wednesday obliging the government to "revise" its level of cooperation with the IAEA nuclear watchdog after the United Nations approved sanctions on Tehran over its atomic program.

The bill also obliges the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "accelerate Iran's nuclear activities" in defiance of U.N. Security Council calls to halt enrichment, which the West fears is a cover for building nuclear weapons.

The Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, in an attempt to stop uranium enrichment work.

"The government is obliged to revise its cooperation level with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," said the bill, which was read out during a parliament session broadcast live on state radio.

More from Andy McCarthy.

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