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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Iran: Is it too late?

British Conservative politician Brian Binley argues that time is running out to stop Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
It is now clear that the Western world finds itself in "last chance saloon" when it comes to stopping Iran from getting its hands on nuclear weapons. The United Nations nuclear watchdog warned last month that Tehran has stockpiled over a ton of enriched uranium which could easily be converted into weapons-grade material. Diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency also pointed out that Iran had possibly underreported by a third the amount of uranium it had enriched to date.


Time is running out for the West to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear bombs.
But for someone who claims to be convinced that time is running out, Brinley offers a remarkably sanguine prescription: more and tougher sanctions.
It is time to admit that no matter how hard we try, Iran just does not want to bargain. The Supreme Leader sends his negotiating envoys to European capitals and to New York simply to buy more time to press ahead with Iran's nuclear projects. After three sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions, time is no longer on our side. We need to act fast.

I am not advocating military action at this stage but there are important pressure points that we need to exploit. The regime has two developing crises to confront. First, many young Iranians are frustrated with the regime's bleak economic and human rights record. In February, for example, hundreds of students chanted "Death to the dictator" at Tehran's prestigious Amirkabir University. Despite dozens of arrests, the protest quickly spread to the University of Tehran. At least 5,000 antigovernment demonstrations were held by Iranian students, workers and women's rights activists in 2008, suggesting that much of Iran's society is far from happy with the status quo.

The regime's other predicament is the global economic meltdown and its effect on the Iranian oil market. Crude oil and gas exports account for 80% of Iran's annual revenues. Many senior regime officials think it's a mistake for the Supreme Leader to go head on with the West over the nuclear program and Iran's continued support for terrorists in the Middle East.

If we step up economic and trade sanctions on Iran now while giving clear messages of support to Iran's brave dissidents, the already fragile regime may not be able to weather the storm.
This is at least an improvement on Barack Obama's proposed love letter, but unfortunately it's too little too late. First, it's not going to succeed. Too many countries that need to be involved for sanctions to work - like France, Germany, Italy, Austria and especially Russia - have already shown that they're not willing to give up their commercial interests to stop Iran.

Second, regime change is a pipe dream. Almost no groundwork has been laid for it, and the Obama administration is on the verge of pledging not to seek regime change as a pre-condition for the Iranian government to negotiate with it.

Third, if, as Brinley asserts, we are running out of time to act, how long would he propose to give such steps? Iran is less than a year away from attaining a nuclear weapon. Does Brinley really believe that regime change can be accomplished in less than a year?

It's time to acknowledge that sanctions have failed, that regime change is not going to happen and that the world should either resign itself to living with a nuclear Iran or start making plans for military intervention. We canaries in the coal mine prefer the latter. If even people like Brinley cannot see why, look for Israel to go it alone.


At 7:59 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:01 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The same people who persuaded themselves Hitler wanted peace have persuaded themselves Iran's nuclear intentions are benign. Of course, they haven't seen the real face of the regime... yet. As for the wisdom of using military force, before it was too late to stop Hitler, he could have been stopped with a minimal loss of life and the entire disastrous Second World War could have been averted. Its still not too late to stop Iran.


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