Saturday, April 22, 2006

Those Iran-Collaboratin' Russians

The U.S. effort (part of the anti-Iran info-op) to publicly link the treacherous Russians to the freedom hating Iranians continues today with the State Department beseeching the Kremlin to halt a proposed sale of an anti-aircraft defense system to the Islamic Republic.

One problem with yesterday's announcement.

The Russians have already unequivocally pledged not to cancel the weapons system sale.

At a news conference in Washington yesterday, the State Department's third-highest-ranking officer, R. Nicholas Burns, said the time has come for countries "to use their leverage with Iran" and halt exports of weapons and nuclear-related technologies. He singled out the sale of 29 Tor-M1 air-defense missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract announced by Russia in December.

"We hope and we trust that that deal will not go forward, because this is not time for business as usual with the Iranian government," said Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Burns made the same appeal earlier in the week during a visit to Moscow, and he acknowledged yesterday that the Kremlin had already rejected it. Indeed, hours before Burns spoke, a senior Russian official was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency making clear his government's determination to follow through with the delivery of the weapons, which the Russians stress are defensive in nature.

Propaganda purposes are the only impetus for going public with a diplomatic initiative that has already been rejected.

What else are the Russians doing that upset the U.S.?

In addition to refusing to give up the weapons sale, Russia this week rejected a U.S. call to end cooperation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, southern Iran. The Russians say the plant has no relation to any Iranian effort to develop weapons. Iran insists that its entire nuclear program is aimed at producing energy, not arms...

With diplomacy now centered in the U.N. Security Council, council members are due to receive on April 28 a report on Iran's nuclear activities from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States, along with Britain and France, expect the report to open the way to U.N. sanctions against Iran.

But Russia appeared to harden its opposition to sanctions yesterday. A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said such measures should be considered only if "concrete facts" emerge that Iran's nuclear program is not exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Burns said a meeting of senior political officers from the Security Council's five permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- has been scheduled May 2 to consider the next diplomatic moves against Iran. In addition, he said, the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations intend to focus on Iran during their July summit.

Some national security types in Washington are arguing for a boycott of the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg. However, it would be difficult to pressure Russia there if we boycott the G-8 meeting.

Prediction: No boycott of the summit.

And finally, consensus at the U.N. is so Twentieth Century:

But given the potential for continued stalemate, Burns raised the possibility that some nations might act against Iran without waiting for a Security Council agreement.

I wonder which country Mr. Burns refers to as "some nations"?


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