[ot?] Prospects of the Iranian nuclear issue, Analysis
- From: pluto <pluto@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 19:28:12 +0800
UPDATED: 17:08, May 10, 2006
Prospects of the Iranian nuclear issue, Analysis
Foreign ministers of China, United States, Russia, France, Britain and
Germany gathered Monday evening in New York to exchange views on the
Iranian nuclear issue. The six-party conference was convened after the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council failed to reach agreement on
the draft resolution proposed on May 3 by Britain and France. What a kind
of result would the FM consultation produce? All interested parties are
The meeting reportedly lasted two hours, rather than the scheduled 45
minutes, but made no progress on a unified position. According to U.S.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, foreign ministers of the six
major powers mainly focused on "questions at strategic plane" and didn't
touch much the draft resolution now under Security Council discussion. The
spokesman perhaps intended to play down the great differences among the six
countries on the Britain-France proposal, but his words may run
The Iranian nuclear issue displayed recently no sign of getting eased, but
a trend of escalating into a crisis. On March 29, the Security Council
passed a presidential statement calling on Iran to stop uranium enrichment
activities. But Iran answered by declaring the production of a small amount
of enriched uranium and conducting a sizeable military drill near the
Straits of Hormuz, the "energy lifeline" of the West. While refusing direct
talks with Iran, Washington is busily seeking for UN adoption of sanction
against Iran, declaring that plans of military strike "have been put on the
The Britain-France proposal, believing that the Iranian nuclear program
endangers world peace and security, requires the Security Council to take
further measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter if Iran refuses to
cooperate. The draft didn't elaborate on the "further measures", but
according to Chapter 7, when world peace is threatened or aggression
occurs, mandatory measures, including military means, can be taken.
Therefore this serves no less than an ultimatum to Iran: force will be used
once diplomatic efforts fail.
This draft resolution of intimidation met strong opposition from members of
the Security Council. Russia, for example, has been insisting on "major
revision" on it, opposing the language of international sanctions or even
the use of force under UN Charter.
China consistently stands for safeguarding the international
anti-proliferation regime and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle
East region. China is convinced that related resolutions of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the presidential statement of
the UN Security Council should be earnestly implemented, and hopes that
Iran can fully cooperate with IAEA so as to clarify some unsettled
questions. Under current circumstances, the Chinese side hopes, the
international community can stick to diplomatic negotiations to solve the
issue peacefully, and all parities involved should remain calm and exercise
restraint to create necessary conditions and atmosphere so that talks can
It is quite obvious that China and Russia share a common ground in opposing
sanctions or the use of force against Iran.
The key of the nuclear issue lies in whether Iran and the U.S.--the
opposing two sides--can make concessions. By now, both parties remain
stiff-necked despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to George W. Bush. The
clash between Iran and the U.S., on the surface, is that Iran insists on
its right to peaceful use of nuclear energy and denies any plan to develop
nuclear weapons, while the U.S. accuses Iran of seeking for nuke weaponry
and doesn't allow it possession of nuclear technology. But the root lies in
conflicts between different values and strategic interests, which is also
the reason behind ceaseless disputes since the two countries severed ties
26 years ago.
At the moment, the basic point of U.S. policy is to topple the Iranian
regime via sanction or force. Therefore it is quite possible that the U.S.
goes alone or with Britain and France, if Iran still refuses to yield,
although the Security Council can hardly pass sanction in short term due to
Chinese and Russian opposition.
The author Liu Shuiming is senior editor of People's Daily Overseas
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