They were given 60 days to stop enriching uranium back on December 23. Instead, they accelerated their program. ElBaradei issued his report of noncompliance to the UN today, opening the way for a new round of draconian sanctions. Which, naturally, are not forthcoming:
The director of regional strategic programs at the Nixon Center, Geoffrey Kemp, said yesterday that he does not think America will win its fight for an additional U.N. Security Council resolution. Mr. Kemp did say, however, that he thinks the pressure from America will continue as it enlists more European and Japanese support for financial isolation and sanctions.
“I think the report will enhance our determination to go to the Japanese and the Europeans to do more,” he said. “I think they will say there is a lot of evidence that the Iranians are worried about sanctions and are hurting from sanctions, and if you do what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years, then this will affect their program.”
No Russia + no China + no France = no sanctions, even though they could be terrifically effective. Or rather, no UN sanctions; as Kemp says, the new report gives our allies moral cover with “the international community” to impose unilateral measures.
The Security Council’s going to meet Monday anyway and play out the charade.
Two new pieces out tonight, meanwhile, accusing the U.S. of supplying bogus intel on Iran. The Guardian claims American sources have led the IAEA on a wild goose chase for an Iranian nuclear bomb program that doesn’t exist. Buried at the very, very end of the article, though, they drop this:
One of the “outstanding issues” listed in yesterday’s [ElBaradei] report involves a 15-page document that appears to have been handed to IAEA inspectors by mistake with a batch of unrelated paperwork in October 2005.
That document roughly describes how to make hemispheres of enriched uranium, for which the only known use is in nuclear warheads. Iran has yet to present a satisfactory explanation of how and why it has the document.
The other story is from Newsweek. They’re alleging a scandal based on the fact that the U.S. intel operative who briefed reporters about those killer Iranian IEDs two weeks ago might have said the Iranian government had authorized their shipment to Iraqi insurgents. I say “might” because the briefing wasn’t recorded and no one’s 100% sure; the BBC reported it as merely the briefer’s assessment, not an assertion of fact. Which would be a fairly safe assessment: the intel is apparently solid that the IEDs are coming from the Quds Force, and the Quds Force is an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In any case, Bush and Peter Pace went out of their way in the days afterward to say they can’t prove a link to the Iranian government, but Newsweek knows the nutroots will stroke themselves over the merest hint of manipulated intel so they decided to float this and see what happens.
I leave you with this short video of Ahmadinejad discussing the latest nuclear breakthrough in the Islamic paradise. What he describes is unlikely (albeit not impossible), but it’s worth watching for the nationalistic way in which nuclear tech is presented. Quote: “The enemy would like to tell us that we are not capable.”
Update: An attack next year? Cheney says go, everyone else says no:
Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, who has previously called for direct talks with Tehran, is said to be totally opposed to military action.
Although he has dispatched a second US aircraft carrier to the Gulf, he is understood to believe that airstrikes would inflame Iranian public opinion and hamper American efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One senior adviser to Mr Gates has even stated privately that military action could lead to Congress impeaching Mr Bush.
Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, is also opposed to using force, while Steve Hadley, the president’s National Security Adviser, is said to be deeply sceptical.
The hawks are led by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, who is urging Mr Bush to keep the military option “on the table”. He is also pressing the Pentagon to examine specific war plans — including, it is rumoured, covert action.