Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iran way ahead

Iran seems to be walking away with the palm in its fight to have the 'nuclear option.' If the summary given by Amir Taheri is even just close to the truth, it looks all but certain that Tehran's big player status is assured for a long time to come.

Main points:

Chirac dropped the only condition that the 5+1 group - the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany - had demanded of Teheran as a prelude to negotiations [that Iran be asked to stop uranium enrichment as a precondition].
In any case, the Iranians
have been relocating Iranian assets in places where they cannot be seized or frozen
have been stockpiling dual-use products likely to be denied to Iranian importers when, and if, sanctions are imposed.
have already won the express support of no fewer than 116 of the 192 members of the UN for its position regarding the nuclear issue.
The consequence of such preparedness may, parodoxically, be sanctions because
Iran's friends on the council, especially Russia and China, might decide that it is not worthwhile to pick up a quarrel with Washington to stop sanctions that would not hurt the Islamic Republic in any case.
Another consequence may be war for
if sanctions prove useless from the start, the US and its closest allies might decide that the only effective move against the Iran is military action. In other words, Teheran's success in countering possible sanctions may render a military clash inevitable.
And even this would be victory
"A limited military clash would suit Ahmadinejad fine," says a former cabinet minister. "The Americans would appear, fire a few missiles, bomb a few sites and go away. Ahmadinejad would show on TV some old ladies and babies killed by the Americans, declare victory and pursue his grand plans with renewed vigor."
I would love, at this point, to set out the strategy to defeat all this. Yes, well, ...

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