Theodore's World: Iran Makes More Threats

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March 06, 2006

Iran Makes More Threats

Iran is asking for it big time

Iran Issues Warning Ahead of IAEA Meeting

VIENNA, Austria

Iran threatened on Sunday to embark on full-scale uranium enrichment if the U.N. nuclear agency presses for action over its atomic program, and a top U.S. diplomat warned the Islamic republic of possible "painful consequences."

The comments came as the International Atomic Energy Agency's board prepared to meet Monday to discuss referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, but delegates said whatever step the council might take would stop far short of sanctions.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday there was an urgent need to confront Iran's "clear and unrelenting drive" for nuclear weapons.

Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences," Bolton told the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

But Iran's government cautioned that putting the issue before the Security Council would hurt efforts to resolve the dispute diplomatically.

"If Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the U.N. Security Council, (large-scale) uranium enrichment will be resumed," Iran's top negotiator, Ali Larijani, told reporters in Tehran. "If they want to use force, we will pursue our own path."

He said Iran had exhausted "all peaceful ways" and that if demands were made contrary to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the nation "will resist."

Larijani said Iran will not abandon nuclear research, or back down from pursuing an atomic program that Tehran insists has the sole purpose of generating electricity with nuclear reactors.

IAEA delegates suggested the U.N. agency's board will not push for confrontation with Iran and said any initial decisions by the Security Council based on the outcome of the meeting will be mild.

They said the most likely action from the council would be a statement urging Iran to resume its freeze on uranium enrichment — an activity that can make both reactor fuel and the core of nuclear warheads — and to increase cooperation with the IAEA's probe of the Iranian program.

Even such a mild step could be weeks down the road.

Still, it would formally begin council involvement with Iran's nuclear file, starting a process that could escalate and culminate with political and economic sanctions — although such action for now is opposed by Russia and China, which can veto Security Council actions.

Bolton said a failure by the Security Council to address Iran would "do lasting damage to the credibility of the council."

"The longer we wait to confront the threat Iran poses," Bolton said, "the harder and more intractable it will become to solve."

Russia and China share the concerns of the United States, France and Britain — the three other permanent council members with veto power — that Iran could misuse enrichment for an arms program.

But both have economic and strategic ties with Tehran. While they voted with the majority of IAEA board members at a Feb. 4 meeting to alert the council to suspicions about Iran's nuclear aims, they insisted the council do nothing until after this week's IAEA meeting in Vienna.

Russia is unlikely to agree to strong action while it negotiates with Iran on a plan that would move Tehran's enrichment program to Russian territory as a way of increasing international monitoring and reducing the chances for misuse in arms work.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due in Washington and New York this week to discuss the status of those talks with Bush administration officials and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Both Tehran and Moscow have said new talks are planned; diplomats in Vienna, who demanded anonymity in return for discussing the situation, said no dates had been set.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 6, 2006 01:27 AM


This is the rubbish that free nations have to go through in order to stop others from turning the world into an ash pit.

Iran is following the same path as Iraq and the former Soviet Union; stalling, threatening, and the end collapsing.

Posted by: Washington at March 6, 2006 08:19 AM

Hi Washington, they sure have a pattern like you said. Thank you for commenting on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 6, 2006 10:07 AM

Could be that China is worried about Iran. I read yesterday where China is increasing its militry budget--and I can't believe it is for defense against the USA. They don't want nor can afford a war with us because the economic ties are getting them everything they could want from us anyway. But they do depend on Iran for a lot of their oil imports and might just figure that wth the world balance of power being so shaky they might need to protect their oil resources--or then again they might want to just take it.

Posted by: GUYK at March 6, 2006 12:26 PM

I hope Washington is right on this one. Strikes and other unrest are either under way in Iran or inevitable, but the regime shows no signs of peaceful collapse. At least not right now.

It's hard to say if Ahmadinejad is a genuine maniac or just an expert in brinkmanship, but his most dangerous miscalculation might be that he'd discarded the assumptions behind Mutally Assured Destruction. MAD forestalled nuclear exchanges during the Cold War, even with China.

I think they're serious in their promises, though, and the end to this will be a lot of glass and smoking sandals in the Middle East.

Posted by: Rhod at March 6, 2006 01:28 PM

Hi GUY,interesting what you said about China. These are scary and fast moving times we are living in now.So many things happening and mad men like Iran's Pres. are up to no good.

Thank you for your input on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 6, 2006 02:25 PM

Rhod I think they are serouis in their promises too. Is it wishful thinking on their part or can they pull it off that is what concerns me. I am glad that Bolton is there maybe it will help. It sure as heck is a counter to Kofi that we needed for a long time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 6, 2006 02:30 PM

GuyK's point is on target, I think. China has few resources, surprisingly, of the energy kind. They also have Muslim-related problems of their own in the west.

They stand to gain nothing from an unstable or destroyed Iran, or any interruption in the flow of oil through the Gulf.

On the other hand, China also wants military and political reach in the Pacific Rim, and they're going to challenge the US and Japan for it.

Personally, I don't think China will every amount to its own expectations; it's a Third World nation with enormous problems.

Posted by: Rhod at March 6, 2006 03:17 PM

The thing about the Chinese is that they will not be in a hurry unless someone hurries them. They are gaining the influence on the Pac Rim thru economics. But they also have some 800,000,000 peasants in the country side who have not yet shared in the economic properity of the urban areas. In order to bring economic equality to those millions the country needs a reliable energy source. Unless they can come up with an alternative to crude oil the Persian gulf area is their best option.

I don't sell the Chinese short. They have some brillient minds among their scientists and engineers and could very well be the ones to come up with an alternative to crude oil. But it is the "in the meantime" that worries me-what are they up to when they spend an additional fifteen percent or so on the military?

Posted by: GUYK at March 6, 2006 05:49 PM