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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

  • 3:52 AM
US Intensification of Conflict

The Iranian nuclear issue was referred to the United Nations (UN) Security Council Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Apparently, it seems the United States has fulfilled its wish. US representative to the IAEA, Greg Schulte gave out a gust of relief, saying that the issue should have been referred to the Security Council long time ago. Shulte said he hoped the Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran.

In fact, it may not be good, neither for the US, nor the world that the issue be delivered to the Security Council and sanctions be under consideration because it makes the problem more complicated as conflicts escalate along a more acute direction, but not towards reconciliation.

What is distressing is that the US government seems purposely to push the issue towards exacerbation. US Vice President Dick Cheney said in an annual meeting of an Israeli organization that the US "is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime." On Tuesday US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized fiercely that Iran has deployed elite forces to confront the U.S. military in Iraq and "They are currently putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq." However, he said there is no evidence but it is his reasonable speculation.

In response, Iran also turns hard. Iranian negotiator in Vienna conference warned the US of "harm and pain" if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The threatening words of both sides can be of no help for the issue to be solved, but to intensify confrontation.

What kind of outcome can we expect when the issue is handed over to the UN Security Council? In fact, no more than two prospects: first, the Security Council gives a solemn warning through its resolution; second, passing a resolution on economic sanctions over Iran, e.g. oil embargo and freezing its overseas assets. However, such sanctions are unbearable for the current world oil market and large oil-consuming countries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has hinted that Russia will not support sanctions on Iran. Therefore, the Security Council can either issue a chairman's statement to urge and exhort Iran to stop, or impose symbolic sanctions, which, however, will be unable to prevent Iran from uranium enrichment.

Since referring to the Security Council will not necessarily bring a solution to the issue, why is the US so eager to do it?

The US is playing a game of psychology, that is to threaten Iran by strong-arm means for it to give in. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice preserved a way out when meeting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. After the issue was delivered to the Security Council, she said it would not be the first option for the US to push for sanctions. Iran still has chance to make a choice.

If Iran still hates a compromise, then the US in its turn will be able to find reasons for eventual surgical attack on Iran for itself and Israel, although the reasons would be barely enough.

However, such a radical move is not desirable since it will further exasperate the Muslim community whose anti-US sentiment has already gone out of control and then lead to confrontation between the US and the entire Muslim world.

Thus, taking the interests of various parties into consideration, it should after all be the best option for the issue to be put back under the IAEA framework for a peaceful settlement through patient negotiations.

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