Follow the timeline. It’s been three and a half years since the IAEA first flagged them for noncompliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty. And still the Security Council’s giving them more time: today’s sanctions do nothing more than freeze the assets of a few Iranian scientists and forbid sales of nuclear and missile equipment to Iran (which they already have), with a promise of more draconian measures to come if the mullahs don’t suspend enrichment soon. The U.S. wanted those measures now but Russia threatened to veto unless the resolution was completely defanged — especially with respect to the nuclear plant they’re building for Iran at Bushehr. So we’ll be back for another round of this god knows when, after a few thousand more centrifuges have been installed. The goal, it seems, is to time the process so that major sanctions are handed down the day after Iran’s built a functioning nuclear weapon. Mario Loyola explains it all to you at the Corner.

No reaction yet from Ahmadinejad. Maybe he’s busy decorating the tree:

Merry Christmas to everyone!
My sincere congratulations to everyone for the Glorious and Auspicious Birthday of Divine Prophet – confirmed and authenticated by Gabriel, the angel of Divine revelation – the Obedient of Almighty God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah (peace be upon Him)…

We believe that the beloved Jesus Christ – the Messiah (peace be upon Him and His Mother) would also reappear for the fulfillment of the promises of all the Divine prophets. And together – accompanying the invited of the nations – would bring all the beauties and goodness for humanity of the world. And we are getting close to that date.

Meanwhile, hmmm:

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Update: The State Department is spinning the resolution as a pro forma gesture that signifies international consensus; with that established, now they can go ahead and do what they really want to do — meaningless unilateral sanctions.

Burns said the resolution takes away a main argument against bilateral penalties by individual countries, which have told U.S. officials that they could not do so until the U.N. acted. The administration wants other nations to join the U.S. and stop selling arms to Iran and to limit export credits to Tehran, he said.

“We want to let the Iranians know that there is a big cost to them,” Burns said, so they will return to talks.