On Monday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved a third round of sanctions against Iran with near unanimous support, sending a strong signal to Tehran that its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment was unacceptable.
Out of the fifteen members, fourteen voted for the resolution with Indonesia abstaining. It was purely US move supported by Britain, France and Germany who won the backing of fourteen members sans Indonesia, which abstained. For the first time, the resolution bans trade with Tehran in goods that have both civilian and military uses and authorises inspections of shipments to and from Iran by sea and air for carrying suspected banned items. Most of the other new subjects to sanction are technical figures.
The Monday resolution does welcome Tehran's agreement with The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to resolve outstanding issues about its past nuclear program, at the same time reiterating that all the incentives offered by the group of 'Big Six' in 2006 remain on the table if Iran suspends enrichment. However, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Africa expressed their concern over IAEA's recent report that said suspicions about most of the past Iranian nuclear activities had eased or laid to rest, which indicated Iranian cooperation and questioned the wisdom of more sanctions. The functioning of the UN Security Council is subservient to the Big Six and the minions do not count.
Abdul Samad Minty, South Africa's envoy to the IAEA, said on Thursday that Tehran had addressed all outstanding questions and there was no reason to keep Iranian file at the UN Security Council. He made these remarks at a tele-conference from Oslo, adding that the new February 22 report by the Director General IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, indicated the resolution of all the remaining issues on Iran's uranium enrichment activities except one. Pointing to the progress made within the framework of bilateral working plan between Tehran and IAEA, he added that the breakthrough has helped build confidence in the international community about Tehran's nuclear programme.
Samad Minty referred to the moves by certain member states that the Security Council must move against Iran, saying that the Council should not go for excesses that might disrupt the current process. "Iran and IAEA have good relations," he said, noting that if the UN Security Council ignores the Agency's findings on Tehran's nuclear program, the credibility of the Security Council would be tarnished. Turning to the draft resolution of the United States and its allies, he said that the draft had been prepared before the issuance of IAEA report and without observing the provisions of the report.
He held that Pretoria opposed any non-diplomatic action against Iran, and called for a continued negotiation. Drawing attention to the new allegations leveled by Washington over Tehran's desire to acquire nuclear arsenal, he added that South Africa was of the opinion that the issue needed more time to be proved by the United States.
Further Minty pointed out that as a reaction to the referral of Iranian file to the UN Security Council; Tehran has suspended the "Additional Protocol to Non-Proliferation Treaty." Earlier the United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities shows that several western countries' pressure on Tehran over its nuclear issue is politically motivated. Even the latest IAEA report doesn't incriminate Tehran against the wild uproar by Washington and Tel Aviv.
On Friday, a senior Iranian lawmaker said that the IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program was positive and would undermine a US push for more UN sanctions. "In the light of the report about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and the resolution of some doubtful issues, the road was not paved for Washington to get a new resolution against Tehran in the Security Council," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that the UN watchdog report on Iran's nuclear program was a victory over the West that has persistently been accusing Tehran for seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies insisting its efforts were aimed at generating power so that it could preserve more of its huge oil and gas resources for industrialisation and export.
In his comments on the report Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed his congratulations to the Iranian nation and the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has the final say in all matters of state, including nuclear policy. Despite that Dr Condoleeza Rice, the 66th US Secretary of State, told reporters that there were very good reasons to proceed to the 3rd Security Council resolution.
The US watchdog in the Middle East, Israel was more vigorous that the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran with a warning to the IAEA that it should be aware of the price the entire world might end up paying for its mild approach towards Tehran. It particularly drew attention to the recent statements made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad and commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that were testament to the nature of the dangerous, irresponsible and racist regime currently ruling Iran that poses a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world, and called for action before Iran's motivations are caught up by its abilities.
Israel's foreign minister's office was preparing for the release of IAEA report under an atmosphere of intense anticipation. It estimated that as had been the case with previous reports, the agency would go easy on Tehran. And at the same time, Israel was launching diplomatic efforts to augment its position by keeping a liaison with the Big Six that will ultimately vote on new sanctions against Iran.
However, it was expected that Russia and China were not apparently convinced and would not go for further sanctions. In fact, it is nuclear-armed Israel that is a threat to world peace and not Iran, which has a long history of peaceful co-existence and was never a threat to its neighbours.
It's Israel that is in favour of exhausting all diplomatic efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program, at the same time threatening that the Jewish state has the US given right to respond to respond with whatever means necessary to protect its citizens. "We are working with other countries to encourage a comprehensive effort on the part of the international community aimed at blocking Tehran's attempt to obtain nuclear capability," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin about a fortnight back.
Meanwhile, diplomats pointed out that it was for the second time in recent weeks that the US had given IAEA information on what it claimed were Tehran's attempts to fabricate nuclear arsenal, but they added that much of it was of doubtful value. The diplomats also told the Associated Press that after handing over the large file last Friday, Washington agreed to allow the Iranians to look at some of the material so they could respond to the allegations, but Tehran showed no interest in examining the US-fabricated information. In fact, Washington and Tel Aviv have been possessed by Iranian nightmares.
They see Tehran at the back of all their global failures and the 'courageous' President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has become for them, the archetype of a devouring symbol.