Roger L. Simon

Into the mullah-strom

From the BBC:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged the UN to confront Iran’s “defiance” over its nuclear programme.

Earlier, foreign ministers from the UK, France and Germany said the time had come for Iran’s nuclear issue to be dealt with by the UN Security Council.

However, Iran says it is still willing to discuss its programme and has urged the EU to step back from referral.

Russia did not rule out referring Iran to the Security Council but said not all diplomatic steps had been taken.

The UK, France and Germany – the so-called EU three – met in Berlin on Thursday in response to Iran’s decision to resume nuclear research this week.

Speaking afterwards, they said talks with Iran had reached a “dead end” and called for an emergency session of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, which could refer Iran to the council and lead to possible sanctions.

Ms Rice backed the EU move, saying: “These provocative actions by the Iranian regime have shattered the basis for negotiation.”

What next? Even the NYT is flummoxed in their editorial of (apropriately) Friday the 13th:

Even if the United States and Europe got the Iran case referred to the United Nations Security Council, it is not clear what that body would or wouldn’t do. Even if Russia and China could be persuaded to go along with sanctions, that might not be enough to pressure Iran, a major oil exporter whose leadership doesn’t seem to care very much about other areas of international trade or diplomacy.

There are no realistic military options, especially for Washington. Iran is more than three times as large and nearly three times as populous as Iraq. And it is worth recalling that the ill-fated invasion of Iraq was first sold to the American public as the most promising way to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists and terrorist-friendly states.

Well, it is so if you think so, Mr. Pirandello, but the millions of new voters in Iraq might have their own views of the “ill-fated invasion.” As for how to handle Iranian nukes, there are other options than mass military action a la Iraq. The folks at the NYT know that as much as the rest of us. They just prefer not to mention it so they can tut-tut after the fact. But again like the rest of us, they would probably breathe more easily.