Friday, October 19, 2007

No Get out of Jail Free Card on Iran

The Deputy Prime Minister (and Finance Minister) of Russia, Alexei Kudrin, spoke today at a Nixon Center lunch. His response to a question about the use of financial sanctions as a means of pressure against Iran was very interesting. He said that sanctions should only be imposed if Iran is engaged in the construction and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and that at present there was no evidence that Iran was building weapons.

Two points of divergence from the U.S. narrative. The first is that the operative word used was "weapons"--e.g. Iran has to be building actual weapons. In other words, it would seem that just having capabilities or equipment is not the threshold for action.

The second has to do with intelligence. What standard are other powers going to demand? Can the U.S. do the Cuban missile crisis-style intelligence briefings with other partners, being able to show satellite photos or human intelligence that can convince beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt?

I think that the bar is being set quite high for proof on Iran, if we take these remarks at face value.

The bar for US claims of Iran developing nuclear weapons should be set that high, or even higher, considering the propensity of the present Administration to tell flagrant lies about such matters.

Our credibility is shot, at least as long as the present crowd of unindicted war criminals are running things in DC.
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