Pinpricks won’t do

Pinpricks won’t do
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First Published: Thu, May 31 2007. 12 19 AM IST

Updated: Thu, May 31 2007. 12 19 AM IST
To ignore one unanimous UN Security Council resolution may be considered impudence; to defy a second looks like policy. (T)he UN’s nuclear inspectors confirmed that far from suspending work to enrich uranium (which, sufficiently purified, can be made into bombs), as the council has twice demanded, Iran is spinning ever more centrifuge machines ever faster at its plant at Natanz... Iran claims an “inalienable right” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to any nuclear technology it fancies...
Expect... (UN to) work on a third resolution... Iran looks set to ignore this too...
More pin-prick sanctions on individuals or companies involved in Iran’s nuclear or missile programmes won’t get Iran’s attention. Any new measures will need to hurt—a lot. Thus far, Russia and China have balked at that; some Europeans are squeamish too. But the alternative—Iran smoothly accelerating towards a bomb—is worse.
A breakthrough in Iran?
The meeting between the ambassadors of Iran and the US in Baghdad on Monday could well be the turning point that chroniclers often look for when they write the history of nations. After 27 years of stand-off..., the two governments have finally decided to open lines of communication... Many hopes are pinned on the Baghdad talks... Since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979... relations between Washington and Tehran have remained frozen, even though the (latter) managed to normalize its ties with the Europeans and other western powers. This led to a state of imbalance in international politics... Iraq has not been the only bone of contention. A controversy on Iran’s programme of uranium enrichment has also created a serious crisis, with the world holding its breath as Washington has kept it guessing whether it is set to... attack Iran’s nuclear installations. This was not discussed in Baghdad but may well be... now that the ice has been broken...
No more excuses on Darfur
Behind-the-scenes diplomacy has done nothing to stop the slaughter of innocents in Darfur. For months, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the UN and other international leaders have been claiming that Sudan’s President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was ready to halt further attacks by the Sudanese armed forces and its... militia allies and accept a robust international protective force. Instead, Bashir and his henchmen have used those months to kill still more people and drive others from their homes.
President Bush rightly served notice that America... will press the international community to stand up to the genocide... Sudan’s apologists, most notably China, Russia and South Africa, have protected Bashir and his government from any serious punishment until now. If they continue to resist strong UN action and deny the reality... many more people will needlessly die. And the blame will not be Bashir’s alone.
All eyes on Sudan
The new round of US sanctions against Sudan marks a rare foreign policy for Washington while the need to address Darfur’s lingering crisis is failing to attract proper attention from the international community... (T)he Security Council-endorsed proposal of a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force merits attention. But (it) opens the gates to Chinese involvement, with its massive dependence on Sudan’s oil, its investments there and its veto power at the UN that keeps the Al Bashir dispensation’s worst fears comfortably at bay... The Chinese may be right about the new sanctions complicating matters, but it can’t be denied that Sudan’s corrupt and notorious companies would find trading difficult when deprived of the greenback... It is now for other players to influence events (read pressure China) to make the combination a success. China is a rising economic power and geo-political concerns have put yet another test of maturity in international politics in its way.
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First Published: Thu, May 31 2007. 12 19 AM IST
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