The Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international lawâ€”U.S. President Barack Obama
This does not mean we must inform Mr. Obama’s administration of every facility that we haveâ€¦they will regret this announcementâ€”Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
So begins the latest chapter in the international standoff with the Iranians over their clandestine nuclear program. As reported by Democracy Now!â€™s Amy Goodman yesterday, a disturbing New York Times report has made public allegations that Iran has built a secret underground facility to produce nuclear fuel, in defiance of previous United Nations Resolutions prohibiting it from doing so.
The Iranians have been busy for years denying both the existence of and access to their nuclear facilities to outside inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while surreptitiously going forward in their quest to become a nuclear power.
This new secret facility, built outside of the city of Qom, is believed to have the capacity to enrich enough uranium to produce one or two nuclear bombs per year once it becomes operational. The leaders of France and Great Britain have joined President Obama in condemning the Iranians.
“We will not let this matter rest,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who accused Iran of “serial deception.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has set a deadline for Iran to comply with demands for a fuller accounting of its program or face new sanctions.
Obama called the response from our allies â€œan unprecedented show of unity.â€
OK, it appears that the British and the French are in agreement when it comes to the threat posed by Iranâ€™s nuclear ambitions. But is the international community really displaying an â€œunprecedented show of unityâ€?
What about the other two main players on the world stage, Russia and China? As both are also permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, are they â€œon boardâ€ when it comes to punishing Iran? Would they support broader sanctions, or a military response against a defiant Iran?
The answer, in a word, is an emphatic NO.
Letâ€™s start with the Russians.
Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced during the photo shoot at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh yesterday that the disclosure of Iranâ€™s secret uranium enrichment facility is “a source of serious concerns,” one must not forget that as recently as September 11, Russiaâ€™s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov emphatically stated that Russia was against additional sanctions being levied against Iran, declaring â€œI do not think those sanctions will be approved by the United Nations Security Council (translation: Russia will veto any resolution on sanctions).â€
Why would they be for sanctions? Iran is Russiaâ€™s biggest customer when it comes to its nuclear program. Russia has provided the technology, the matÃ©riel, and even the fuel that the Iranians will require for their nuclear reactors to become fully operational.
What about the Communist Chinese?
The Chinese Governmentâ€™s spokesman was also quite clear: â€œChina will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program.â€
To be fair to the Chinese, they are a little bit busy these days. On October 1st, when the world will take up the issue of Iranâ€™s nuclear deception and decide on whether to pursue additional sanctions, China will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the communist takeover of that country.
This has, naturally, left China somewhat preoccupied of late. Between closing Tibet to outsiders, banning kite-flying and deploying armed soldiers in the streets of Beijing in order to ensure that the celebrations commemorating six decades of communist oppression are dissent free, they may not be able to devote their full attention to the matter of sanctions against Iran.
And so, at this critical juncture, it appears that the world will once again acquiesce to Iranian ambitions.