Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

US Refusal to Isolate Iran

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

U.S.-Iran policy, spearheaded by Nicholas Burns and Secretary of State Rice, is a train to nowheresville, literally. That's what the world will look like (starting with the hole in the ground that was once Israel) when Iran has acquired nuclear weapons. Iran has no intention of stopping its nuclear weapons program voluntarily. Only a program of serious consequences, swiftly implemented, in response to its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction will prevent the catastrophe that looms before us.

We know that serious sanctions will not be forthcoming through the U.N. Security Council. China and Russia have made their views on the subject quite clear. But let's replay the words of Secretary Rice on May 10, 2006. Either Iran can accept a path to a civil nuclear program, she said, or "Iran can defy the international community and face isolation." And again on May 31, 2006: "It's a moment of truth for Iran." Tough talk - but the problem is that nobody takes American huffing and puffing seriously anymore.

Courtesy of the United States, Iranian proxy Hezbollah has just won a U.N. resolution permitting it to regroup and rearm to fight another day. Iran itself has been further emboldened by a resolution that does not even mention Iran, as if the war had nothing to do with it. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been anointed to administer "peace" between Israel and those who want to annihilate the Jewish state. But Annan thinks those who share that destructive goal - and hail from states having no diplomatic relations with Israel - would make good members of his international "peacekeeping" force. Annan himself is now headed to Iran to further cement U.N. ties with terrorists, after his discussions with Hezbollah ministers in Lebanon. One wonders if he is planning to take in "the Holocaust is a joke" cartoon exhibit now playing in Tehran.

The U.S. visa to former Iranian President Khatami - who wasn't exactly AWOL during the buildup of Iran's nuclear program - is not an isolated event. As the pattern of all talk and no action takes hold, this move too will undercut any demand to the international community for immediate, serious sanctions on Iran. If we aren't prepared to isolate Iran, why should anyone else?

This note originally appeared on National Review Online.