What makes today special?
It’s the last business day in September.
Which means it’s been a month since the expiration of the United Nations Security Council deadline for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment. Needless to say, Iran did not stop preparing its nuclear weapons production.
So how do we handle such important matters in the world of international diplomacy?
Why, we set a new deadline, of course.
That’s what we did last week when the five permanent members of the Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. – plus Italy and Germany agreed to give European negotiators more time to persuade Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program.
No sanctions. No threats. No action. Just set a new deadline.
What’s the new deadline? Well, it’s not really stated. It seems European Union foreign policy guru Javier Solana had more pressing matters to deal with than the end of the world as we know it. He could not meet with Iranian negotiators until at least next week. Maybe some time in October. Who knows?
A senior European diplomat told reporters the new deadline would stretch to early next month, in the hope that new talks between Solana and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani would bear fruit.
I don’t know how you spell that in Farsi, but the Aryan supremacists in Tehran must be yucking it up. They have not only learned the art of Jew-hating from the fuhrer, they have also mastered the art of selling the West a bill of goods. History has repeated itself. Neville Chamberlain lives, again. We’re still certain we can achieve peace in our time through talk and scraps of paper.
Keep in mind, had sanctions been imposed after Iran missed its Aug. 31 deadline, the penalties would have been the most mild forms initially – slaps on the wrist from the U.N. Yet they were not imposed, despite the fact that Iran is flagrantly ignoring us – running out the clock as it inches closer to the production of nuclear weapons.
“I’m concerned that Iran is trying to stall, and to try to buy time, and therefore it seems like a smart policy is to push this issue along as hard as we can, and we are,” Bush said.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to confirm the new deadline but also warned diplomacy couldn’t stretch on indefinitely.
You could have fooled the Iranians. That is exactly the message they are getting from the fools in the U.N.
“Everyone wants to resolve this through negotiations, and everyone wants to solve this thing quickly,” said Rice.
Does she really believe that? Does she really think the Iranians want to settle this matter through negotiations? Does she really think they want to solve it quickly?
Last week, Rice backed away from the long-standing U.S. position that Iran should face sanctions immediately for failing to meet the Aug. 31 U.N. deadline. With all due respect, the U.S. has become part of the problem. If deadlines are not taken seriously in matters of life and death, then they will never be respected again.
Rather, it seems Iran believes the status of negotiations is just where it wants them. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mattaki said talks (which are not even taking place) are right “on track.”
“Iran really wants to negotiate, but they don’t want to conclude negotiations,” explained Jon Alterman, head of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They want to negotiate negotiations.”
Of course, he is exactly right. For those who believe that negotiations and diplomacy can solve every crisis, they are about to get yet another history lesson to the contrary. Don’t expect them to learn this time, either.
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