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Iran Sent to Security Council by IAEA Vote

After a vote at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, the IAEA has finally sent Iran to the UN Security Council over its shadowy nuclear program, a vote bolstered by Iran’s own persistent belligerence. Iran’s response was swift.

At the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors meeting, the vote was 27-3 in favor of sending Iran to the UN Security Council for review and possible sanctions. The three nations voting against the referral were Syria, Cuba and Venezuela. Five countries – Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa – abstained from the vote in a form of protest without opposition.

Before the vote, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)defended Iran’s nuclear energy program by saying that it was the right of each nation to develop and use nuclear technology for “peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations”. The Non-Aligned Movement is a group that represents 115 developing nations, none of them signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad immediately ordered the resumption of uranium enrichment and an end to IAEA snap inspections as well as canceled all other measures previously agreed to under the NPT and the Additional Protocol. All enrichment will take place on Iranian soil, as the Russian proposal was effectively declared dead. President Bush supported the Russian proposal to have Iranian enrichment carried out on Russian soil as an insurance policy against Iranian weapons-grade fissile material production. The value of that insurance policy has always been questionable, and many believe that the only way to stop the Iranian mullhacracy from developing nuclear weapons clandestinely is to stop the Iranian mullahcracy.

President Bush said of the IAEA vote, “This important step sends a clear message to the regime in Iran that the world will not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.” But President Bush’s public stance on Iran in recent months has been markedly and uncharacteristically timid.

Europe, it appears, is increasingly taking the aggressive lead confronting the Iranian regime, past EU-3 ‘talks about talks’ on the Iranian nuclear crisis notwithstanding. (One writer went so far as to wonder aloud, “So who are the cheese-eating surrender monkeys now?”) Perhaps it is the proximity of Europe and the known range of Tehran’s missiles that would be used to deliver a nuclear strike that drives the Europeans. Perhaps it is an aware Bush Administration sensing that the world would largely balk at any forceful move by the United States against any foe amid any threat. Perhaps it is a combination of the two, with a patient Bush Administration calculating and orchestrating nimble diplomatic maneuvering until a timid Europe finally feels compelled to defend itself.

Whatever the causes and variables, the newfound European resolute determination is reflected in an opinion column appearing in The Scotsman, tellingly titled On the brink of battle against Iran’s weapons of mass destruction The author, no fan of the Iraq war or Tony Blair, opens with unambiguous determination: ”Iran is the new Iraq, in terms of Western apprehension. In this case, weapons of mass destruction are not a Blairite despatch-box fantasy but a real and looming menace.” He goes on to cite far more than the current nuclear crisis. With Iran, much of Europe appears to be finally finding its way.

This increasingly visible attitude throughout Europe falls in line with the thinking of US Senator John McCain, who said, “Every option must remain on the table. There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran.”