Friday, September 28, 2007

Give The Experts A Chance

By Cernig

When the Bush administration were exorting everyone to listen to the experts on the ground and give them just another Friedman Unit of time in Iraq as part of their "surge for the surge", I wonder if it occured to them what the most obvious blowback would be?
The U.N. Security Council probably will delay a move to impose new sanctions against Iran until December, when U.N. weapons inspectors conclude a review of Iran's past nuclear activities, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Thursday.

Kouchner, speaking at a breakfast with reporters, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear in talks last week in Moscow that he would not consider Security Council sanctions over the next three months.

Kouchner's remarks came a day before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to discuss a diplomatic reaction to Iran's nuclear activity with the council's four other permanent members -- Britain, China, France and Russia -- plus Germany. The United States hopes to use the meeting to build support for tougher action against Iran, which has repeatedly ignored demands from the council to halt its enrichment of uranium.
The administration and the Senate seem willing to ignore their own logic. It's a hell of a thing when Russia, of all nations, must remind America that what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Update The Bush administration and its allies have agreed to delay their push for further sanctions against Iran.
Six key nations agreed Friday to delay until November a new U.N. resolution that would toughen sanctions against Iran, waiting to see if Tehran answers questions about its disputed nuclear program.

A joint statement from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany said they would finalize the new resolution and bring it to a vote unless reports in November from the chief U.N. nuclear official and the European Union's foreign policy chief ``show a positive outcome of their efforts.''

The United States, Britain and France had been pushing for new sanctions now to pressure Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, but Russia and China wanted to give Tehran more time to comply with U.N. inspectors.

Asked whether the agreement was tantamount to a cave-in by the United States, Nicholas Burns, the State Department's No. 3 diplomat, said ``the alchemy of this group is such that anything is going to be a compromise.''

He said the statement sent ``a very tough and strict message to Iran.''

....nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials agreed in July that Tehran would answer questions from agency experts by December on more than two decades of nuclear activity - most of it secret until revealed more than four years ago. Technical officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency returned to Tehran this week to start probing outstanding questions, some with possible weapons applications.

In the statement, the six countries welcomed the IAEA agreement with Iran.

``We call upon Iran, however, to produce tangible results rapidly and effectively by clarifying all outstanding issues and concerns on Iran's nuclear program including topics which could have the military nuclear dimension,'' the statement said.

``Full transparency and cooperation by Iran with the IAEA is essential in order to address outstanding concerns,'' it said.
I say let the experts do their jobs. If the full measure of time was good enough for Petreaus then it is good enough for the IAEA. If Iran doesn't co-operate fully, then the IAEA will say so.

And if the Agency comes back and says Iran answered all its questions in a satisfactory manner, then the U.S. should drop its demand that Iran stop uranium enrichment before face-to-face negotiations can take place. Enrichment when it is not aimed at weapons production is allowable under the NPT and demanding that Iran give up that right as a starting point on negotiations on whether it should permanently halt such enrichment is simply a deliberate attempt to back it into a diplomatic corner in pursuit of a pretext for war.

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