- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just days after the European Union joined with the United States to insist that Iran come clean about its nuclear program, the EU appears to be caving in — again. On Thursday, after Russia, China and India balked at referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, the EU backed down and drafted a significantly weaker resolution.

As David Sands reported Friday in The Washington Times, the EU’s earlier draft called on IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei to immediately report Iran to the Security Council for action if it failed to comply with provisions of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A later draft, circulated Thursday by EU diplomats, said that Iran’s prior violations of its agreements with the IAEA and questions about the peaceful intent of Iran’s current program “give rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council.” The draft said that the next scheduled IAEA board meeting in November would take up the matter.

In the face of Iran’s defiance and Europe’s wobbly response, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the international front against Iran’s nuclear program remains firm and that “everybody is on the same page.” Iran, by contrast, declared that it had defeated Washington. The substitute draft “was a significant victory for us,” said Javad Saeedi, a member of Iran’s IAEA delegation. “Our firm stance, China and Russia’s backing, and also a lack of legal basis caused the EU’s retreat.”

As it becomes increasingly clear that Iran has no intention of complying with the NPT, Tehran has grown increasingly brazen in its defiance. Earlier this week, its chief negotiator on nuclear affairs, Ali Larijani, said Iran would consider how countries regard its nuclear program as it decides how to allocate energy contracts. Mr. Larijani also threatened to resume Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts if it is referred to the Security Council.

“If they want to threaten us or if they want to send Iran’s case to the Security Council, we will resume uranium enrichment at the Natanz nuclear plant. If you use the language of force, Iran will have no choice but to leave the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty and to resume enrichment,” he added.

So, Iran continues to thumb its nose at the international community, and it is succeeding, with assistance from Moscow and Beijing. The Bush administration faces a very difficult task in mobilizing an international coalition to force Iran to change its behavior.

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