Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Iran punishment?

As Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas go at it hammer-and-tongs next door, Hezbollah's main backer, Iran, is being hauled back before the U.N. Security Council because it has refused to respond to a European offer over its nuclear program.

"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on behalf the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China, the five permanent Security Council members, plus Germany and the
European Union.

Don't expect quick action:

Any real punishment or coercion at the Security Council is a long way off, but the group said it will seek an initial resolution requiring Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment. Debate could begin as soon as next week.

If Iran does not comply, the group said it would then seek harsher action. The group's short statement did not give any specifics, but it cited a section of the world body's charter that could open the door to economic or other sanctions.

Though Russia and China agreed to bring the matter back before the Council, they oppose strong measures against Iran. Still its heartening to see them at least this much on board with the rest of the Council. They could have chosen to let Iran buy a lot more time.

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