Today’s Iran News Roundup

February 18, 2006

The buildup for war with Iran is gaining speed. While I am not a supporter of the current leadership in Iran, I don’t think more war is the answer. Look at how Iraq and Afganistan have turned out. These invasions have only added to the terrorist forces and are no doubt largely the fuel that helped flame the cartoon protests.

That said, here is the news as it stands today. India is on board with the West, and the leadership of that country is trying to convince its people this is not a Muslim issue but a security issue. India has a large Muslim population, so image is everything in supporting actions against Iran.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking wider support for his government’s policy on Iran, held a meeting of the full council of ministers on Thursday to convince his colleagues that Iran had violated the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that India just could not afford to have another nuclear nation in its neighbourhood. It was clear from the meeting that there was no change in the government’s position despite protests by the Left parties. The Prime Minister will make a detailed statement on Iran in both Houses of Parliament on Friday.

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According to sources, Dr Singh obtained the support of his ministers who are now prepared to face the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party in Parliament with what a senior minister said was “sufficient ammunition.” The US-India civilian nuclear agreement also came up for discussion, and here Dr Manmohan Singh, on a weaker wicket, sought to assure ministers that the government would not compromise the “sovereignty” of the nation in any manner. As the sources pointed out, there was wider opposition to the nuclear deal than to the government’s stance on Iran, with the BJP as well as senior Indian nuclear scientists opposed to several aspects of the agreement. The government is not clear when exactly it will make a statement on the India-US nuclear agreement in Parliament, with sources pointing out that it had still to be decided whether this would be before or after the visit by US President George. W. Bush.

European countries, who initially led the effort to try and reach a peaceful solution with Iran are changing their tune. France has openly accused Iran of having a nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the British are busy rubbing elbows with the Germans to make sure they are on the same sheet of music concerning Iran. Britian and Iran are currently engaged in a back and forth over the issue of British troops in Basra, with the Iranians accusing the British of causing unrest on the border and the British accusing the Iranians of trying to draw attention away from the real issue.

The Iranian government is trying to make a last ditch effort to fend off international support for military action by getting its parliament to ratify a UN accord allowing for inspections. I think this is a case of too little too late.

I also think China is the Wild Card in all this. China and Iran are in the process of striking a major oil deal between the two countries. China needs oil for its growing economy in a bad way. They made a similar deal with Venezuela. A destablized Iran would not help this, so even though China agreed to send Iran to the Security Council, they are still calling for negotiations over military intervention.

Russia and Iran are set to meet Monday to discuss an enrichment deal between the two countries. Everything is ridng on the outcome of that meeting. If Iran can keep Russia and China on its side, it will be very hard for the West to get UN support for an invasion. The US claims it will be happy with the deal, but I still am not convinced considering Iran and Israels relationship.

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