S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Iran-again it is all about oil

Germany, France and the United Kingdom have been right in the big middle of the nuclear saber rattling situation in Iran for two and a half years. But these talks seems to have gone as far as they can. A joint statement was issued by the Foreign Ministers of the three EU nations, along with The EU High Commissioner Representative, Javier Solana, after a meeting to consider what to do, is now calling for the United Nations to step in. To quote the BBC,

EU calls for UN action over Iran
Western powers suspect Iran's nuclear ambitions are not peaceful Foreign ministers from the UK, France and Germany have said the time has come for Iran's nuclear issue to be dealt with by the UN Security Council. They called for an emergency session of the UN's nuclear watchdog, which can refer Iran to the council and lead to possible sanctions. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed the move, saying Iran had crossed an "important threshold". Iran, which resumed nuclear research this week, said it was not worried. And UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the BBC Iranian officials had told him they remained interested in serious and constructive negotiations".
The Iranian President is saying that this will make no difference in their plans, according to the New York Times,
Iran will not abandon its nuclear program even if the United Nations nuclear watchdog refers it to the Security Council, where it could face punitive measures, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a rare news conference on Saturday. He insisted that Iran had the right to a peaceful nuclear program and that "no excuse could deprive the country from this right."
"They keep on threatening us that we have to either accept what they say or they will send us to the Security Council," he said, referring to the United States and other Western nations that, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, have been pressing Iran not to resume any nuclear activity. "The Security Council is not an instrument for you to pressure us with," he added.
"They have the right to make comments. We follow our national interests within the framework of international regulations and have the leverage to defend our interests."

As it happens Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was in town for a visit this week, just in time for a little huffing and puffing on the part of Iran. And now, of course the United States is taking an interest, as well. The two leaders seem to agree that Iran's actions cannot be tolerated. But there seems little od significance to be done, since Iran's oil supplies seem to be vital to much of the rest of the world. To quote from a NYT article,

President Bush and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, meeting for the first time since Mrs. Merkel took office last month, promised Friday to step up pressure on Iran at the Security Council to abandon nuclear activities that could be part of a weapons program. But at a news conference at the White House, Mr. Bush declined to predict what sanctions might be imposed on Iran if the Security Council took up the issue in answer to a referral by the International Atomic Energy Agency. . . Underscoring the fluid nature of the diplomacy, a number of countries - including China, Germany, France and Japan - also signaled that they were reluctant at this stage to endorse sanctions against Iran, which has 10 percent of the world's oil reserves and the second largest gas reserves, after Russia. China, which imports 300,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran, is the most hesitant about sanctions. . . Iran, for its part, threatened to halt intrusive, voluntary international inspections of its nuclear facilities if it was referred to the Council, although it pledged to continue to allow regular inspections under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The three big EU powers have been handling what the United States should have handled all along in Iran, except that we were otherwise occupied in Iraq. Experts have yet to agree whether that war was all about oil or not. But think about it. Would we still be involved up to our armpits in Iraq is it were not for their large strategic supply of crude oil?

And now that we need the rest of the world again, because we simply cannot handle this by ourselves, our current president is behaving much more deferentially that in recent years. He has a secretary of state who is much more involved. The war has not been a cakewalk in Iraq, and finds that the U.S. is having to behave again like a member of the family of nations. It is amazing to me that it Iran's blustering and threats to force a more rational assessment of international reality.

Atrios posted a brilliant piece about the politics of Iran today. Great analysis!


Southwest Blogger, my "creative" blog, posts today about fires in the Southwest.

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