Friday, September 22, 2006

The western bluff has been called.

* guardian:
"As the Iranian and American presidents offer their rival versions of international reality at the United Nations this week, it is worth recalling that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the first Iranian leader to travel to New York to proclaim his country's right to make its own decisions about energy resources, to denounce imperialism, and to condemn a world order weighted in favour of a handful of powerful nations.

In this same month in 1951, Dr Mohammad Mossadeq convinced the UN that British efforts to regain control of the oil industry the Iranian government had just nationalised did not deserve the world body's support. Mossadeq won over the security council, and he won over the United States, which enjoyed the spectacle of this elderly, eccentric and eloquent man challenging the British empire. American reporters affectionately nicknamed him "Old Mossy".
The drama which began three years ago when Britain, France and Germany undertook to bring Iran round on the nuclear issue has had its comic dimension, as European wiliness encountered Iranian guile, and was usually outmatched by it. But now comedy threatens to tip over into farce, and tragedy lies in wait. After the passing of many deadlines, the latest at the end of last month, the Iranians are still enriching uranium. They have so far suffered no consequences, and even if a very modest package of sanctions were to survive Russian and Chinese objections at the UN, it would not hurt the Iranians much, if at all.

The western bluff has been called. The Europeans have moved from making suspension a condition for talks to contriving formulas to allow talks to begin without it. As long as serious sanctions lay in the far future, the Europeans were ready to act as if they, and even the highly sceptical Russians and Chinese, would be prepared to take strong measures. But as soon as they become a real prospect, the excuses emerge, ranging from the lack of adequate inducements to the absence of conclusive proof of Iran's nuclear intentions and the danger of pushing the Tehran regime into too tight a corner. All have some substance, but nevertheless represent a retreat from previous positions."
let's hope larisa is wrong about an imminent war.

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