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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Europe, IAEA going soft on Iran

The current strategy to prevent a nuclear Iran is now all carrot and no stick.

It’s hard to find the bright side of the sixth and latest resolution from the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Passed Monday despite significant U.S. objections, the resolution gives Iran the most important thing it needs to make its nuclear dreams come true – time.

The agency rejected U.S. efforts to bring Iran’s case before the U.N. Security Council. Instead, the agency settled on a soft-hearted resolution that ultimately undercuts its own negotiating strategy and strengthens Iran’s position.

Few doubt Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons. It claims a nuclear program would diversify its energy resources, but that line sounds odd coming from one of the most oil-rich nations on Earth. Iran also insists on manufacturing its own uranium, claiming it cannot trust uranium imported from abroad. Why foreign-produced uranium cannot be trusted is equally hard to understand – the vast majority of countries with peaceful nuclear programs relies on others for its enriched uranium.

That uranium enrichment process would put Iran one step away from developing a nuclear weapon and destabilizing an already dangerous region. Iran has a rich history of supporting terrorist groups. Its hatred of the United States and Israel borders on the pathological.

Britain, France and Germany have taken the lead in negotiating with Iran to relinquish its uranium enrichment efforts. The talks are aimed at a more permanent agreement based on trade concessions and technical support for a peaceful nuclear program.

Those negotiations are unlikely to succeed without the underlying threat of U.N. Security Council sanctions. By effectively taking that card off the table, the agency’s approach is now all carrot and no stick. That plays right into Iran’s strategy to deceive the international community, delay its day of reckoning and one day join the nuclear club.

One French diplomat reportedly celebrated the agency resolution with champagne and smiles. But before uncorking any more bubbly, the international community should insist that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment efforts and accept a strengthened inspections protocol. Without these safeguards, a nuclear Iran is only a matter of time.

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