The New York Times reported that under a deadline imposed by President Obama, Iran has until the end of 2009 to demonstrate that it is prepared to limit its nuclear ambitions. The report noted that Gates’ comments were “the first from a senior member of the Obama administration to say that tougher sanctions were now likely.”
In a separate statement originating with the European Union, and approved by the 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels, the EU urged international action against Iran because of its refusal to cooperate over its nuclear program. The statement read, in part:
Consistent with the dual-track approach, the European Union would support action by the UNSC (Security Council) if Iran continues not to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program.
AP news and Agence France Presse both quoted Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown from Brussels on December 11, who stated: "Now if there is no response from Iran ... we have always said in Britain that we are prepared to consider sanctions and that is what we are prepared to do in the New Year if we don't have satisfactory responses.”
Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was quoted by the Christian Science Monitor: "Iran has now been caught breaking the rules. Such violations are unacceptable. The illicit smuggling of weapons from Iran to Syria is not just a sanctions violation. It is also an important factor in the destabilization of an already fragile Middle East."
The strong language and threat of sanctions against Iran is predicated upon the unproved assumption that Iran’s uranium enrichment programs will be used to produce nuclear weapons, rather than peaceful atomic power.
However, Iran has so far not been proven to have the capability to enrich a sufficient supply of uranium to a sufficient degree to manufacture even one crude nuclear weapon. And even if it managed to do so, there is the challenge of delivery. While the recently tested Iranian missiles have the range to reach all of the Middle East and parts of Southeastern Europe, they have not been proven to have the accuracy needed to strike their intended targets. Furthermore, launching one or two nuclear-armed missiles would be a suicidal exercise for the Iranians, since they lack the defensive capabilities to prevent retaliatory annihilation by a number of nations, including Israel, which the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists believe possesses as many as 75–200 nuclear weapons.
Always ignored when the danger or Iran becoming a member of the nuclear club is voiced is the fact that the most radical Islamic terrorist groups operating out of Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East have long subsisted on Soviet-Russian support. And what is not widely known is that most of the terrorist attacks against the West have been carried out by individuals motivated not by Islamic faith, but by a longstanding communist agenda geared towards world domination.
In view of this, against which nation should sanctions be leveled — Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, or Russia? Consider the article “Russian nuclear forces, 2008” published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for May/June 2008:
The size of Russia’s arsenal, combined with the “former” communist nation’s support of Middle Eastern terrorism, perhaps explains the following observation made in the Wall street Journal for December 11:
Russia no more wants to disarm Iran than a Mafia godfather wants to disarm one of his best hit men. And if the West is wise, it will concentrate on the hands that are controlling the Iranian puppet, not the puppet, itself.