CHINA AND RUSSIA WARN THE US OVER SANCTION AND MILITARY ACTION ON IRAN
On the eve of the US finally getting some word of action, or inaction, from the UN Security Council on the Iran Crisis, three key events occured :
* China and Russia warned the US not to ramp up unecessary talk of war or make threats against Iran.
* Iran threatened to retaliate against the US if they are attacked, by striking US "interests" all over the world. Interests meaning troop deployments and US corporations and businesses.
* The US talked up the benefits of diplomacy after getting nowhere with NATO foreign ministers when they demanded "tough action" on Iran. It was a face-saving move.
All those expecting some Big Action from the UN Security Council today, or soon, are likely to be disappointed. It will be another crushing blow to the US in the public perception arena, and Iran will appear to have brought more time, another few months, to keep on controversially enriching uranium.
The US is challenging the UN Security Council to "show it's worth" by coming down hard on Iran over its development of nuclear technology, for energy, and allegedly for weapons, though no proof thus far has been forthcoming.
But UN Security Council hardlining on Iran now seems highly unlikely.
According to the Financial Times :
Russia and China on Thursday warned against escalating the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme.
"The US and the European Union believe Friday’s report by Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will set the stage for a UN Security Council resolution, since there is little chance that Tehran will meet the council’s demand for 'full and sustained suspension' of uranium enrichment, which can produce weapons-grade material.
"But on Thursday Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, warned against too great an intervention by the Security Council – a path Moscow feels could lead to confrontation.
"European officials argue that, far from sidelining the IAEA, any action by the council would seek to bolster its authority.
"The Chinese government also called for restraint. Moscow and Beijing, which have growing energy and economic links with Iran, fear that a UN resolution might be used to justify military action at a later stage."
The US says it's not looking for regime change in Iran, just compliance. The US says it doesn't want war with Iran, it wants calm.
To do what? To not pursue nuclear energy? This will be difficult, as Iran has the legal right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, for civilian usage, and nobody has seen any evidence thus far that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
One-eyed commentary on Fox News and editorials in The Jerusalem Post playing the Hitler card don't qualify as proof.
'Where's the proof?" NATO ministers are said to have demanded of Rice when she talked up the threat of a nuclear Iran. There was none forthcoming. It will take more than a slideshow at the UN Security Council this time around to gee up support for military action.
The EU ministers don't want Iran to have nukes, but they also don't want another war, a far more dangerous and widespread war than Iraq's, breaking out in Iran and seeping throughout the Middle East.
Iran knows the US is extremely vulnerable right now. The Iraq War is a fiasco and the US has been mocked throughout the Middle East media, and in Russia and China, for being unable to take care of their problems, or deal with the consequences of their actions.
President Bush has been grinning and thumping podiums as he has talked about "all options are still on the table," including nuclear strikes, but to the world outside the West, this has made the US look like the rogue state, the dangerous wildcard.
Which is why Iran took the opportunity yesterday to threaten massive retaliation against US "interests" across the world if the US decides to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
From the Washington Post : Escalating the threats between Washington and Tehran, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that his country would strike U.S. targets around the world in the event it is attacked over its refusals to curb its nuclear program.
"If the U.S. ventured into any aggression on Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging U.S. interests worldwide twice as much as the U.S. may inflict on Iran," Khamenei said...
UPDATE : IRAN WILL ANNOUNCE TODAY THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO DEFY UN RESOLUTIONS TO HALT NUCLEAR FUEL ENRICHMENT
US WILL ANNOUNCE THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL HAS TO COME DOWN HARD ON IRAN DEFIANCE TO "UPHOLD CREDIBILITY