Saturday, October 28, 2006

Draft Resolution: The Play with No Audience

The draft resolution that Europe (and the US) are presenting to the Russians and Chinese as their opening negotating position has been released.

I will not reproduce the entire thing here. And I may regret that when a final resolution is passed and I am not able to find this to compare it to. I'm including enough that I should be able to get the draft in a google search if it is there.

16. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council, to undertake the following tasks:
    a) to seek from all States, in particular those in the region and those producing the items, materials, equipment, goods and technology referred to in paragraph 4 above, information regarding the actions taken by them to implement effectively the measures imposed by paragraphs 4, 5,7, 9 and 15 of this resolution and whatever further information it may consider useful in this regard,
The first thing that strikes me about the draft is that the Security Council has to agree to lift sanctions. This would put the US into the Iraq position of getting sanctions, then announcing they will not be lifted without regime change.

The second thing is that this draft does not seem to lack any of the elements of the Korean sanctions, which is to say that accepting this draft would equate Iran's IAEA supervised enrichment with Korea's test of a weapon.

What makes this a play is that nobody thinks the final document will look anything like this. When Rice said the sanctions we get will not look like what the US would produce unilaterally, she meant the sanctions we get will not look like this draft document.

A story is circulating in the Western press that the exemption for Bushehr makes this document a compromise between the Russians who want something less stringent and the US which wants something tougher. The difference is that Russia would prefer nothing to a resolution that is too stringent - and therefore has a credible veto threat. The US will take whatever it gets. So the final resolution will be the lowest common denominator - a little less stringent than the resolution that would provoke a Russian or Chinese veto.

I'm not sure who is supposed to be impressed by this dance over Bushehr.

I'm curious about whether or not the Europeans would present a resolution if they could not count on a Russian veto. The Iranians would take a resolution like this as a declaration of war, not a hot war, but Iran would do everything it could to increase the price of oil throughout the region and it would do everything it could to provoke the US to fire first starting a hot war.

The Iranians would also cut IAEA cooperation to at least the legal minimum. Removing cameras from safeguarded sites for example, and denying visas to inspectors from the West. I would expect Iran to announce it will withdraw from the NPT if after a set period, the sanctions have not been lifted. Iran has a history of making moves in this nuclear contest that are more subtle and clever than I expect though.

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