Iran: Carrots and sticks Posted by: McQ
on Monday, March 06, 2006
If you listen to John Bolton, all the carrots are being left to the EU-3. Bolton, in a series of statements, is making it clear that a military response to Iran's nuclear intransigence is not off the table:
The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has told British MPs that military action could bring Iran's nuclear programme to a halt if all diplomatic efforts fail. The warning came ahead of a meeting today of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which will forward a report on Iran's nuclear activities to the UN security council.
Today's IAEA will end the month of grace to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear question and report Iran to the Security Council of the UN. Although it may be difficult to pass, the SC could impose sanctions on Iran. That, as mentioned, doesn't mean a military option doesn't still exist. Bolton addressed that point to a British parliamentary delegation recently:
According to Eric Illsley, a Labour committee member, the envoy told the MPs: "They must know everything is on the table and they must understand what that means. We can hit different points along the line. You only have to take out one part of their nuclear operation to take the whole thing down."
It is unusual for an administration official to go into detail about possible military action against Iran. To produce significant amounts of enriched uranium, Iran would have to set up a self-sustaining cycle of processes. Mr Bolton appeared to be suggesting that cycle could be hit at its most vulnerable point.
Sounds simple, but it wouldn't be as simple as taking out a part, especially if Iran has built redundant systems. However, given Iran's bad faith negotiations, the military option, regardless of its viability, must remain on the table. Bolton does make a good point though: you don't have to take all of the facilites out to cripple the program if, and that's a big "if", you have good intelligence about the sites of particularly key elements in that program.
Some believe Iran has secret facilities that are buried so deep underground as to be impenetrable. They argue that the US could never be certain whether or not it had destroyed Iran's "capability".
Which brought me back to a remembrance of the Bush administration's desire to continue to develop nuclear bunker busters and the critics saying they were "dangerous, ineffective and unneeded". That would be irony, eh? Stop a nuclear program with a nuclear weapon?