Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mark Lyall Grant: New sanctions deadline, end of February 2010, give or take three months

The United States does not want sanctions, or it would be pressing much more aggressively for them. The fact is that sanctions would neither slow Iran's nuclear program, or strengthen the US position with respect to Iran. They are more likely to do the opposite in each case, and the US knows this.

We have an interview with Mark Lyall Grant, the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations published by Ria Novosti
Q: How soon could they be on the table in the Council?

A: I think, as I say, there will be some discussion among the Six first, before we table something in New York. But I think probably by the end of February, certainly I expect there to be sanctions.

Q: Discussed in the Council or already voted?

A: It depends how long it takes. Last time I was involved in the last major sanctions resolution in March 2008 and that took three month to negotiate.
If the West, as I hoped, quietly began working on building fuel assemblies in November, by the end of February, it will be able to present assemblies for a simultaneous exchange for part of Iran's LEU stockpile.

The important element is neither the exchange or the reduction in Iran's stockpile. The important question remains is the United States yet willing to accept Iran having the ability, in theory to build a weapon if Iran perceives a national emergency requiring one. If it is, everything remaining can be worked out fairly easily. If it is not, we may get reluctant sanctions, if any, early in the summer of 2010. That would mean Obama's Middle East policy will be heading toward complete failure.

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