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Thursday, August 31st 2006

I Swear I Didn't Hear The Alarm Clock

It is well past August 31st in Tehran and Iran has failed to meet the deadline to accept the incentive/sanction deal put forth by the 5+1 group.

The U.N. nuclear agency declared Iran had failed to halt nuclear work by a Thursday deadline, and Tehran defied the threat of sanctions by vowing never to abandon a program the West fears could give it atom bombs.

A confidential report of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), leaked to Reuters, said Iran resumed enriching small amounts of uranium in recent days. The agency said its probes had been blocked by lack of Iranian cooperation.

“The Iranian nation will never abandon its obvious right to peaceful nuclear technology,” Iranian state radio quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying, hours before time ran out for Iran to stop enriching uranium.

The question of course, as I’ve brought up before, remains over what, if any, consequences Ahmadinejad has brought upon his country. This with Russia and China highly skeptical and France wavering.

Eventually, the punitive measures American and European officials say they will seek might expand to restrict travel by Iran’s leaders and limit the country’s access to global financial markets, according to diplomats involved in the talks who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

But even as an agreement shapes up among the United States, Britain, France and Germany, the push for sanctions faces a high hurdle in the Council, given Russia and China’s possession of veto power and their opposition to discussion of serious punishment for Iran.

In addition, the sanctions effort may also be hampered by a report to be issued Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in which inspectors will describe only slow progress by Iran in enriching uranium.

This in contrast of a Pentagon report, in which Iran will have nukes in 5 years. But of course the Pentagon report comes right off the heel’s of the House Intelligence Committee calling on US intelligence to publish more alarming threat assessments.

I think the U.S. is befuddled and has dropped the ball repeatedly. I also think Iran is a real threat. Mutually Assured Destruction is not a factor when playing chicken with a man like Ahmadinejad.

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