Multilateral toothlessness in dealing with Iran nukes
There is more.
The U.N.'s toothless response to Iran's defiance on nuclear weapons tells Iran it can do what it wants with no consequences. Once again, the U.S. is in the lonely position of telling a rogue state "no."
The so-called P5 — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia, the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council — on Thursday issued a new set of "demands" to Iran. But calling the weak requests it made "demands" is a bit grandiose. The group really just punted.
Let's start with the fact the statement is "nonbinding." The countries couldn't agree on anything tougher. So much for sticking together. The statement gives Iran 30 days to abandon uranium enrichment activities. Then what? There are no carrots and no sticks in this document. It's the worst kind of signal to send to a defiant Iran — weakness and disunity in the face of a real nuclear threat.
It's clear that's how Iran sees things. Immediately after the new "statement" was released, Iran's chief diplomat to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told Agence France Press bluntly: "Iran's decision on enrichment, particularly research and development, is irreversible."
As for the U.S. perhaps cobbling together some kind of coalition to take further action, that too seems to be a dead letter.
Right after going soft on Iran, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear his country — which has billions of dollars of business with Iran's mullahs pending — will oppose giving any teeth to U.N. action against Iran: "Russia on principle doesn't think sanctions can achieve a settlement, especially in the Middle East where there's so much going on."
How about our good friends, the Chinese, whose coffers we've filled with hundreds of billions in trade in recent years? "This issue . . . can only be resolved through peaceful means," said China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bigguo. Translation: We'll do nothing to endanger the billions of dollars in energy we're buying from Iran.