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January 12, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal from Annan on Iran
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

The Europeans and maybe even the Russians have concluded that Iran's decision to break the seals placed on its nuclear facilities by UN inspectors is cause for serious international concern and a likely referral to the UN Security Council.   As detailed here, the sounds emanating from the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are worrying indeed.

Yet if his language today is any indication, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, charged with primary global responsibility for peace and security, is going soft on Tehran.   Reuters reports that Annan said:

Iran is still interested in "serious and constructive negotiations" with the European Union on its nuclear program, so long as the talks don't go on too long

The only viable solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear intentions was "a negotiated one," Annan said.   

He said he had been talking to all sides in the dispute and felt the matter should remain for now before the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Once that process was exhausted, the matter could yet end up before the U.N. Security Council, where it would be up to the council's 15 members to decide how to proceed, he said.

Amid menacing acts by an Iranian regime that seems oblivious to international opinion, while it may be important for Annan to distance himself from the governments that are taking the hardest line, he should not be in the position of comforting Iran that nothing tougher than more negotiations will result from its provocations.   

This is the kind of position that plays into the hands of UN critics who accuse the body of being a talkshop that shies away from the world's most serious threats.


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Suzanne Nossel is exactly right on Kofi Annan's attempt to inject himself into the Iran crisis. We've seen this routine before, and all it does is embolden. But then, I've never been a fan of the Secretary General, and think his 'wise man' routine wore... [Read More]

» Annan Sticks His Head in the Sand from Vital Perspective
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Thursday that Iran is still interested in "serious and constructive negotiations" with the European Union on its nuclear program. Annan also said he had been talking to all sides in the dispute and felt the matter s... [Read More]


The trouble here is that the USA has established itself as a serious threat, and any noises from the UN that sound vaguely like a possibility of approval for something beyond more talk are likely to get interpreted as UN backing for a unilateral US military strike.

There's more than one bozo on this bus....

The thought that the USG can be seen as anything other than hypocritical on this debate is absurd. What's our relation to the non-proliferation treaty at this point?
The people of Iran are in favor of going nuclear. Israel has nukes; India has them, and Pakistan has them- and frankly Pakistan terrifies me. Pakistan is far more unstable that Iran. Khamenei himself is worried that Ahmadinejad is going too far in his rhetoric.
Every shoeshine boy in Tehran would accuse you of arguing Likud's case. I wish I could say they were wrong.

Yesterday I tried to argue against Iran going nuclear and I got yelled at and cursed out.
If a Swiss banker -an old friend- can defend Iran's autonymy I guess I can too.

personally I want all these nuclear weapons eliminated, so I am not going to support any nation going nuclear.

I will say however that it is rather hypocritical of the US and the other nuclear powers to be lecturing Iran on developing a nuclear capability while they themselves have done absolutely nothing over the last 10-20 years to eliminate the threat of nuclear war and dismantle their own weapons. I mean really!

In fact it is the US bushivite crazies who are aching to develop all new kinds of WMD to bring us closer to armageddon.

I do see this whole issue as a deadly game of chicken - the Iranian crackpot fundamentalists vs. the US crackpot fundamentalists. and I support neither side. and I won't support any military aggression against Iran either, which is exactly where the US wants the whole thing to go with this UN security council charade, just like it did in the lead up to the Iraq war and occupation.

there are diplomatic ways to deal with these issues.

a good article laying out the Iranian crackpot current way of thinking is here:

and oh yeah, what about all those totally illegal 100-200 nuclear warheads that Israel has? I don't hear the Western powers clamoring for International Atomic Energy Agency action or UN sanctions. it's hypocrisy. with a racist overtone I suspect.

Fact Check: Iran has signed the NNPT which governs how members may use civilian nuclear power. Iran would not have ever recieved the nuclear power plants and related facilities it has today without signing the treaty. Israel was never a signatory and one can bemoan Israel's nukes but to call them illegal has no relation to reality.

Lane Brody

Suzanne - Instead of joining the huffing and puffing about Ahmadinejad (who may be a crazed anti-Semite but has not yet invaded any other country, unlike others we might name), why don't you post a serious analysis of the threat you perceive Iran to be and why you call it a "rogue Middle Eastern regime."

Seriously, I'd like to hear your arguments.

Bob G. To make the analysis really interesting, check out Juan Cole's Balloon Juice ; entries and links about the other religious fervour at work ( historically a source of ridiculous amounts of misery no matter whose religion is cited ).

Anyone familiar with Iraninan politics (this does not include you Nossell), understands well enough that the role of the president of Iran is rather impotent in formulating foreign policy. Remember Khatami? No, obviously you don't. Nonetheless we are supposed to find it all terribly "worrying", how "worrying"? Staying up at night in Kansas that Iran is producing electricity from its nuclear powerplants? Or is it that Ahmadinejad is paraphrasing Khomeini (who keeled over atleast 16 years ago) regarding Israel's legitimacy?
Instead of the usual hyperventilation why not tell us exactly what are these menacing "acts" coming from Iran?
After a 29 month instrusive investigation (additional protocols), voluntarily entered in to by Iran, the IAEA has found no evidence of nuclear weapons. If you, Nossell, or you, Brady have such evidence you may want to avail us of it, or better yet, the IAEA, so that we'll be able to substantiate the much talked about yet little elaborated Iran's nuclear "ambitions". Instead you give carte blanche to a country, the United States, that still holds on to 10000 nuclear warheads and Israel that holds on to 200-400 nuclear warheads both of whom lecture Iran (that has no nuclear warheads) on "nuclear temperance", how quaint! This is supposed to pull the wool over whose eyes exactly?
Whether Iran would have or would not have received technology for its powerplants if it had not signed up to the NPT is not the issue. Israel's not signing up and acquiring the technology surreptiously by means of US, Britain and France in contravention of the NPT by all 3 UNSC members is indeed the issue. The fact remains that the region is supposed to endure Israel's offensive weapons, however acquired. That this is somehow desirable and beyong reproach, is something neither Nossell, Brady nor anyone else in the US popular media are able or willing to address.
Another assertion from Nossell that made me smile was "Iran's oblivious attitude regarding international opinion", you probably mean sort of like our attack and occupation of a country 6000 miles away that evidently posed no threat to us? Like that kind of obliviousness to international opinion?
And do tell us how "Kofi Anan has comforted" Iran, I'm keen to know.
This kind of mindless and irresponsible saber-rattling and turning a hypocritical blind eye can lead to serious problems for this country. This is not Iraq with whom we are sleepwalking towards a potentially global conflict.

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