The UN Security Council has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” — and it’s stoking conflicts

Being mad at Iran is not a good reason to use the UN Security Council against that country’s nuclear programme — which Iranian officals insist is not and will never be aimed at making weapons.  But, the U.S. still can’t get over the seizure of its Embassy in Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran, a major U.S. ally.  OK, U.S. Embassy personnel were held hostage for 444 days, and some were threatened with death.  OK, this is a big violation of diplomatic conventions.  But, a different approach then might have shortened if not avoided the Embassy seizure and the hostage-taking.  And a different approach now might have avoided the confrontation between Iran and the UN Security Council — a body that was biased in favor of Iraq during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war that Iran always called the “imposed war” and that still underlies a lot of Iranian resentment against the West.

In response to Saturday’s vote (unanimous, as it happens) in the UN Security Council to begin phased sanctions against Iran unless it halts its not-illegal uranium enrichment activities, Iran has not immediately decided to stop what it’s doing — oh no, quite the contrary.   The Associated Press (AP) news agency is reporting that: ” ‘From Sunday morning, we will begin activities at Natanz — site of 3,000-centrifuge machines — and we will drive it with full speed. It will be our immediate response to the resolution,’ Ali Larijani told the Kayhan newspaper…Larijani noted that Iran has ‘said many times before that if the Westerners want to use the Security Council as an instrument, it will not affect our will. And it will make us more decisive in realizing our nuclear aims.’  He said the Security Council had discredited itself by approving the resolution.  The resolution orders all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also freezes the Iranian assets of 10 key companies and 12 individuals related to those programs.  If Iran refuses to comply, the council warned it would adopt further nonmilitary sanctions, but the resolution emphasized the importance of diplomacy in seeking guarantees ‘that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.’  The U.S. has said it hopes the resolution will clear the way for tougher measures by individual countries, particularly Russia.  The Bush administration had pushed for tougher penalties. But Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, balked.  To get their votes, the resolution dropped a ban on international travel by Iranian officials involved in nuclear and missile development and specified the banned items and technologies.” 

Agence France Presse is reporting that “AFP President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said those who backed the U.N. resolution, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany but supported unanimously by the Security Council, would soon regret their ‘superficial act.’  ‘It is a piece of torn paper … by which they aim to scare Iranians … It is in the Westerners’ interest to live with a nuclear Iran,’ the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.  ‘Give up this Muppet game. You (the backers of the resolution) cannot send secret friendly messages to us and at the same time show your teeth and claws. End this dual game,’ Ahmadinejad was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying in a speech at the former U.S. embassy in Tehran.

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