1127 EST/30 Mar 06
Iran is upping its rhetoric, just hours after the UNSC vote. According to Drudge (and the AP), an Iranian envoy has "definatly rejected" the call to halt its uranium enrichment efforts.
As we noted yesterday, a diplomatic demand (like the one issued by the Security Council) is meaningless and hollow, unless you're prepared to back it up. At this point, the UN appears reluctant to even discuss potential sanctions, let alone military action, so Iranian officials can be defiant--with little to fear, and (so far) nothing to lose.
The U.N. Security Coumcil has offically demanded that Iran cease it's nuclear enrichment efforts. Earlier this evening, the 15-member security council unanimously approved the carefully-worded statement, demanding Iranian compliance. The U.N. statement also asks the International Atomic Energy Agency to issue a report (in 30 days) on Iran's compliance efforts.
Tehran greeted the resolution with defiance, and why not? Like most U.N. statements, this one has no teeth. What if Iran doesn't comply? The U.N. won't say. But sanctions are highly unlikely; Iran's friends in Moscow and Beijing have already said so.
If the Iranians hold true to form, they'll make a few empty gestures toward compliance, such as dismantling a few centrifuges, or temporarily halting work at a site, pehaps Bushehr--whose role in the nuclear program is actually quite minimal. This will start a game of nuclear rope-a-dope between the U.N. and Iran, designed to by time for Tehran to build atomic weapons.
Secretary of State Condolezza Rice calls today's statement "an important step." Perhaps, but I'm guessing that the mullahs in Tehran won't lose any sleep over it. Meanwhile, in Israel, Mr. Olmert will soon face the ultimate decision for his nation: take decisive action, or let the diplomats dabble a while longer, and hope for the best.