Friday, April 30, 2010

Brazil and Turkey working on medical reactor deal

So we have another reason sanctions are supposedly being delayed contrary to the wishes of the United States. The Washington Post reports that negotiations with Brazil and Turkey on reviving the medical reactor fuel deal will prevent a sanctions resolution from occurring quickly.
Western diplomats made clear they were not happy about a development that will likely delay a U.N. sanctions vote in New York. Washington had hoped to have a final draft ready ahead of a May 3-28 meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but diplomats say negotiations could run into June at least.
Sanctions are not good for the United States, they increase hostility with Iran which has ramifications in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they do not accomplish any tangible objective that advances US strategic interests.

Rhetoric aside, the United States is not eager to impose sanctions, or certainly would have accomplished sanctions by now. And if the United States wanted confrontation with Iran it could stop Iranian shipping at any time, claiming it is doing so to enforce existing UN resolutions.

In the absence of information about what is being discussed, it is possible to invent scenarios that match the known positions of the major parties in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Maybe Iran wants an international fuel bank to be on Turkish soil, which the US would oppose.

If a Brazilian/Turkish/Iranian proposal is presented and the US does not accept it, it will not prevent the US from getting the votes it would need on a resolution that in itself would have little or no impact on Iran's economy - but would it would do in practical terms is give the US an excuse to "delay" sanctions for a few more months. That may be where we are headed.

Over the next few months, possibly the US will continue public discussion, for the first time by US officials, of the difference between an Iranian nuclear capability and Iranian nuclear weapons.

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