Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Given The Track Record, I'd Scorn Them Too.

I think this is more the signs of desperation, rather than confidence.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned U.N Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran, telling a crowd Tuesday that Iran had humiliated the United States in the past and would do so again.

Speaking in the southwestern provincial capital of Ahvaz, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council's resolution last month was invalid and had left the world body's reputation in tatters.

Actually, the UN's reputation has been in tatters for some time. What with the heinous sexual abuse by UN Peacekeepers in the Congo and the Oil-For-Food scam, to name the latest.

Ahmadinejad is facing some serious problems. He has an increasingly restless populace, especially the among the intelligentsia. The latest elections in Iran were a slap in the face with more moderates elected than had been foreseen. This erosion of Ahmadinejad's power base is also troubling to an aging theocratic council that is truly in control of Iran. His domestic influence is dribbling away. Slowly to be sure, but make no mistake, it is going away.

Ahmadinejad is also dealing with an energy issue. They are currently on a course that will basically rob them of their economic engine, oil exports. With rapidly rising internal energy demands, and an infrastructure that has not been updated since the Shah was deposed, Iran has painted itself into a corner. It desperately needs energy if it wants to improve (or even maintain) the standard of living most of it's citizens have come to expect.

On the face of it, nuclear power seems like a reasonable reaction to this crisis (perhaps the resolution of one issue can even help resolve the first). But, their willingness to sell weapons to external states (see Hezbollah and its recent war with Israel), and the concerns of other nations, specifically the US, UK, France (yes, France of all countries!) and Israel, make their statements regarding civilian application seem specious. Even the IAEA, forever reticent about making a stance one way or the other, has expressed "some concern". Everyone is terrified at the thought of some terrorist purchasing weapons-grade nuclear material.

I hope the UN sticks to its guns on this one. This, along with the North Korean issue, is an opportunity for the UN to show that it still has relevance.