Saturday, October 15, 2005

Russia Not Swayed on Iran

A personal visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was not enough to convince Russia to back US and EU initiatives to curb Iran's development of nuclear weapons technologies. (New York Times: Rice Fails to Persuade Russia To Back U.N. Action on Iran). Russia has been steadfast in its opposition to raising the Iranian weapons program issue in the UN Security Council. Rice had hoped to convince Russia to join the west in containing Iran's weapons research, and to specifically restrict Iran's ability to enrich uranium.

Russia remains a major proponent of Iran's nuclear program, and continues to be their prime supplier of materials and know-how. It's highly unlikely that Russia will vote against their wallet in this obvious conflict-of-interest. Rather than refer the issue to the Security Council, which would be a precursor to military action if Iran continues on their present path, Russia would prefer to keep the issue isolated with the IAEA. That would effectively allow Iran to continue to develop their nuclear capabilities and it would allow Russia to continue to profit from it.

While Russia abstained in the last vote in the IAEA, signalling their opposition to sanctions against Iran, it seems likely that they would veto any measures that do come up in the Security Council. What Russia's pro-Iran stance really accomplishes is an increased likelihood of unilateral or coalition military action outside of the auspices of the UN. Russia's lack of cooperation in the Iranian issue brings us that much closer to military conflict. A unified front would be far more successful in containing Iran, however such containment is not what Russia seeks.

Given Iran's close ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and given their obvious support of the insurgency in Iraq, even the enrichment of uranium is a step that Iran cannot be allowed to take. As sponsors of terrorist organizations of international reach, Iran already has a very large target on its back. That they openly sponsor terrorism is no secret. Nuclear technology in the hands of Iran is tantamount to nuclear technology in the hands of terrorists. Whatever action is necessary to prevent that is action we must take now. Waiting for the IAEA to respond, or waiting for this issue to work its way through the UN Security Council only serves to benefit Iran and their nuclear supplier, Russia. Action by the US and EU will be required to end Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The time for that action is now.


No comments :