Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A United Front

Jack Straw says the world is not split over what to do about Iran.

A mere three hours later Jack's boss was asked at PMQs whether he agreed with Jack's unequivocal assertion that military action against Iran is "inconceivable". Tony didn't answer this very straightforward question. Which really only leaves one reasonable conclusion as to what Blair actually thinks about Jack's assurances.


Blair did stress that the focus was on a dimplomatic solution.
"Nobody is talking about a military invasion against Iran or military action against Iran. We are taking diplomatic action through the UN security council."
Anyone who closely watches what Blair says will be well aware of the essentially meaningless nature of these words. "Nobody is talking about..."? Given Blair's form, this probably means that he's in written communication with Bush about the start date for the bombing campaign. If, after the event, one of those written communications happened to leak out, Blair'd just say "but I said nobody is talking about military action. I wasn't talking, I was writing it down. How dare you suggest that I lied. You just didn't listen to what I actually said..."

OK, I may be exaggerating the cynicism a bit there. But only a bit.

One other thing. Blair said:
"We are taking diplomatic action through the UN security council. But let's be clear what is happening – [Iran] is in breach of its international obligations."
I'm not saying I'm sure he's wrong but it's far from clear to me that they are. In what way? The stuff with the IAEA relates to Iran's decision to withdraw from a voluntary, that's voluntary agreement they made a few years ago which allowed IAEA inspectors greater access to nuclear facilities than the Iranians are required to provide under the NNPT. The Iranian government always maintained that this would be a temporary measure so the fact that they've withdrawn from it is hardly a surprise. Or a breach of their obligations. Perhaps I'm missing something (genuinely, not sarcastically). Any thoughts?

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