Iran Reaches Stalemate
The Nuclear Crisis
The UN Security Council passed a draft resolution on Iran drawn up by Britain, France and Germany Tuesday. The European nations give Iran another chance, promising broad-based economic support and benefits in exchange for the suspension of uranium enrichment. Washington is satisfied with the draft, convinced that Iran will turn down the offer, and nothing will save Teheran from sanctions then. Russia approves of the draft in general but tries to bring the nuclear power plant in Bushehr away from sanctions and pushes for the penalties which can damage Western interests rather than its own.
Germany, France and UK have come up with a new initiative to solve the Iranian crisis. The Old World decided to use the stick and the carrot policy in the dialog with Teheran. This time, Iran will be requested not only to abandon the uranium enrichment program, but also to fully and openly cooperate with IEAE inspectors. The West is willing to provide material incentives for the c. For example, Iran can be given a highly favorable trade regime with EU-countries. Europe can also promise Teheran to build energy plants, including nuclear reactors for nuclear power plants.
The amount of possible bonuses is to be discussed. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the issue would be finally settled at a meeting of foreign ministers of EU member-countries in Brussels next Monday. Details will be worked out for at least one week.
Washington made an unexpected move and agreed to the proposal, strongly supporting it. “It must be a clear signal for Iranian authorities that the international community is united to convince Iran to abandon the uranium enrichment program,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. “We will continue to seek for a binding UN Security Council resolution, but we will wait a couple of weeks until Europeans draft a proposal for the Iranian party, so that they are aware that they have a choice to have a civilian nuclear program,” she said in an interview with ABC.
Analysts explain Washington’s stance of more pragmatical arguments. The White House is sure that diplomacy will bring no results in overcoming the Iranian crisis. Two years of futile talks never convinced Teheran to give up murky nuclear developments. Iran is intransigent about creating its own atomic weapons. Aggressive statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadimejad, who first threatened to halt oil supplies to the world market and then promised to wipe Israel off the map, only backs America’s determination to foil Teheran’s plans by any means, including military ones.
However, America’s partners at the Security Council do not share the U.S. approach fully despite the intensions of Iran that Washington clearly sees. Washington gives Europeans a carte-blanche for a peaceful solution. The world community does not demand this time that Iran curtail its nuclear program but simply buys it from Teheran. Nevertheless, the United States is sure that Iran will turn down this generous offer, which will finally prove to everyone that Iran is producing outlawed weapons, as Washington maintains, instead of building civilian energy industry, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists. Therefore even staunch defenders of Iran as Russia and China will have to agree that diplomatic means have been exhausted.
The new draft Iranian resolution mentions penal measures along with “the carrot” for Teheran in case it does not accept a hand of friendship. A reference to the notorious Chapter 7 of the UN Charter is to be included on the resolution. The article describes the use of force and international sanctions for violator states. Western diplomats broadly hint that Russia and China, which vehemently opposed it, are ready for a trade-off and may agree to the reference to the punitive chapter of the UN Charter. Yet Moscow and Beijing want to specify it. They think that the reference should be made to Article 41 of Chapter 7 which envisages sanctions, but not to Article 42 that gives the go-ahead to military force. “We are very upbeat. We have never been so close in our views [on the solution to the Iranian issue],” a Western diplomat who spoke on conditions of anonymity said.
Perhaps, it is too early to be optimistic for the West. Moscow does not seem willing to lose billions of dollars after the halt of cooperation with Iran, which will surly happen if sanctions are imposed on the country. Yet both the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry realize that they will not be able to block sanctions against Teheran without end. There is only one option left. Moscow will try to push for the sanctions that will deal the least possible blow on Russian economic interests. For instance, Russia may try to take a ban on cooperation in peaceful atomic energy out from the list to be able to complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant. Military contacts will obviously have to be given up.
Still, Moscow is not going to pay for the embargo against Iran alone, Kommersant learnt. Russia already has an elegant move in store that will come as an unpleasant surprise for the West. The point is that, speaking about sanctions, European nations and the United States actually mean freezing overseas assets of Teheran, declaring Iranian leadership pesonae non grata, banning air communication with
Iran and similar steps. Moscow, in its turn, is set to discuss “a serious embargo” to put a strong pressure on Iran when debating on the list of sanctions. It means banning Iran from selling oil and gas on the world market. Russia will have double benefits in case the initiative is backed. First, the world maker will lose Iranian fuel and will response with sky-rocketing energy prices. Second, Western countries and Moscow’s implacable ally, China, major consumers of Iranian oil and gas, will be at the losing end.
The Iranian president virtually confirmed Wednesday that the new initiative of European countries is only a temporary détente for the Iranian crisis. He said that Teheran will never abandon “its sovereign right to have and develop new technology.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also accused the United States and other Western countries of monopolizing the nuclear technology market. “Iranian people defend not only their right but rights of other nations as well,” the Iranian president said at a D8 summit of developing countries in Indonesia.
Experts believe that Iran is determined to become a nuclear power and set to use the North Korean example to achieve it. The situation will be brought to the brink of a major crisis, which will make the United States agree to hold one-to-one negotiations with Iran. A pattern similar to six-party talks on Korean nuclear program is also possible. In any case, Teheran will win more time to get ready and finally boast its own nuclear bomb to the West.
All the Article in Russian as of May 11, 2006