Western officials, and the United States in particular, have vowed to rapidly move forward with new sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council. President Barack Obama said the effort is moving quickly and that new sanctions will be in place soon.
Which would suit Secretary of Defense Robert Gates just fine, as Pentagon spokesmen insisted the secretary believes “time is of the essence” and say he has demanded the sanctions within “weeks, not months.”
The United States was already pressing for the sanctions in the UN Security Council for months, but President Obama said Iran’s recent announcement that it will attempt to produce fuel rods for medical isotopes proved Iran was abandoning “their posturing that their nuclear power is only for civilian use.” Obama also insisted Iran had “ignored his offer of engagement.”
In reality, however, Iran had been calling for additional talks with the West for months, and last week accepted the “draft” agreement presented by the US, only for Western officials to condemn them for that acceptance. It was only when it became clear that the third party enrichment deal would not be in place in time to provide them with fuel for the Tehran medical reactor that Iran announced its intention to aim for self-sufficiency.
And while President Obama expressed confidence that the “whole world” was in agreement on isolating Iran, China remains very much in doubt. The most recent statements from China’s foreign ministry indicate that they believe the sanctions would harm efforts at diplomacy, and the prospect of a Chinese veto could still prevent these sanctions from ever taking shape.