Iran rejected the latest offer by Europe, who would gift them a light-water nuclear reactor in exchange for the halting of their production of uranium. It would have been of no consequence if Iran had accepted the offer as the U.S. immediately rejected it out of hand.
Although the U.S. is supposed to have no more influence in the international body than the other members, it's clear that the present activity against Iran is being driven by the Bush regime; hawked at high level by Bush and Cheney, and prosecuted by Rice and Bolton at the State Dept.
The rest of the international community must feel conflicted as they recall the past confidence game played out in 2003 against Iraq, where the U.S. sidestepped the U.N. security council in their haste to invade the sovereign nation. The head of the U.N., Annan, initially called the invasion 'illegal', only to later lead the body to officially recognize and bless the interim puppet authority and the rest of the Bush regime's manipulations, making the takeover of Iraq permanent and 'legal'.
The U.S. expects to do the same to Iran. Their military plan, reported yesterday, calls for five days of bombing against as many as 400 targets in Iran. At least 75 underground targets would be attacked with bunker-busters - nuclear bunker-busters, if Seymour Hersch is correct. Self-described 'democracy czar' Elizabeth Cheney is ready to fly in a compliant sampling of Iranian exiles to assume power after they chase Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into his own hidey-hole.
The IAEA doesn't have any mechanisms for punishment, much to the consternation of the Bush regime. U.S. envoy Bolton tried earlier (in vain) to get an agreement making the IAEA's mandates legally binding. It's no wonder that the international community has pulled back, at least temporarily, from allowing themselves to be used by the U.S., once again, as pretext and cover for another illegal war.
The European members who must ultimately decide Iran's fate have not shied away from their own quiet saber-rattling at the end of every proposal they make, but they are not insensitive to the punitive effect of any proposed sanctions. There will undoubtedly be a disruption of the flow of oil, to and from Iran. Partnerships and multi-billion dollar deals with countries like Russia, China, Japan, and others who are economically dependent on trade with Iran, will suffer and possibly evaporate.
Aside from the economic concerns, there is another daunting consequence if the U.N. security council does decide to act against Iran. Such an action could open the question again of the U.N.'s refusal to collectively move against North Korea in 2003 when they withdrew from the NPT. Russia and China then, as they are likely to do now, opposed sanctions against North Korea after the IAEA referred them to the security council.
Unfortunately, Bush intends to sidestep the U.N. no matter what they decide. Bolton and Rice have already said that they will seek action "outside of the U.N" if they don't get their way. It must be an amazing thing for other nations to deal with that pair: Bolton the U.N. hater who denied it's existence until he was forced upon the body by Bush's recess appointment, and Rice the warmonger who taunted and bullied the other nations of the world into willing war in her former job as Bush's gal-Friday; now as secretary of state she straddles the globe, looking to get our country's usual cohorts' jingoistic juices flowing again for conquest in Iran.
There are, in my view, two very important, unanswered questions which must be addressed before any move is made to sanction or punish Iran.
First there is the question of law. Although it may be legitimate for the IAEA to find Iran in violation of agreements made under the NPT, it would be a curious thing for the security council to then consider a resolution sanctioning Iran for nuclear violations, when the entire affair is sponsored and initiated by the U.S. who has flaunted the NPT in their pursuit of new nuclear weapons with new justifications for their use. (It should not be lost on that international body that the next-generation nuclear bunker-buster weapons contemplated by the Bush regime are just the weapons the military says they want to drop seventy-five of into holes in the Iranian ground.)
The next question is one of Iran's right to engage in activities which are clearly lawful; real law, not purchased votes from a fractured body of international actors. Not legalisms made up by a man who regards himself above following our own country's laws by virtue of a resolution authorizing war on those responsible for flying planes into the World Trade Center buildings. War makes Iran's principle accuser here in the U.S. feel omnipotent. Will Iran be protected from U.S. aggression which has been unrestrained without cause in the form of threats and plans for war.
That's the most important question for the other countries who have become willing accomplices to Bush's tyranny and are considering joining this coalition of the coerced. If they capitulate, will they usher in an era of unbridled expansionism? Russia and China are certain to follow Bush's example with their own imperialistic designs.
If the other nations don't capitulate, and they defy America's reckless ambitions, what have they done to prevent their country from becoming the next target of the Bush regime's imperious ire?