Monday, January 18, 2010
Iran puts into writing what everyone knew all along
Well, it's finally put up or shut up time for the West on Iran's nuclear program, as if what happened wasn't obvious all along. We're discussing, of course, Tehran's formal rejection of a United Nations proposal to send most of the country's enriched uranium abroad for processing. The International Atomic Energy Agency announced that it had received a letter from Iran rejecting parts of the proposed deal, designed to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons, according to the Reuters international news service. Western nations had backed the plan offered by former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei but Iran allowed the proposal's Dec. 31 deadline to pass despite threats of economic penalties for noncompliance. The plan would have required Iran to transfer at least 70 percent of its nuclear fuel to a European nation for enrichment to levels suitable for power but not for weaponry. Iran reportedly agreed to the deal in principle in October at six-party talks in Geneva, but has raised objections to its provisions ever since. Now, it's up to the United States, European Union and other Western nations to either come up with a sanctions regime that will force Iran's capitulation or raise the stakes and put some threat of force on the table. Parties to the October talks -- the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China -- have started to discuss future actions, Reuters said. Of course, that only makes sense if the six powers really thought Iran would comply with the terms of the deal -- a considerable reach given Iran's behavior in the past. The six powers, and the West, surely already have plans in place for what to do now -- hopefully, they'll let the rest of us know soon, because the security of the entire world would seem to be at risk.