hizbullah demo 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
As Israel battles the Little Satan - to borrow a phrase from the mullahs - in Lebanon, the UN Security Council threw down the gauntlet to the Great Satan in Iran. On Monday, that body adopted a resolution requiring Iran to cease uranium enrichment or face economic and diplomatic sanctions.
As US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton pointed out, this resolution was a long time coming. Two months ago, the EU-3-plus-3 (UK, France, Germany, US, China, and Russia) presented its package of assistance to an Iranian nuclear energy program, provided that Iran verifiably abandons its quest for nuclear weapons. Four months ago, the Security Council called on Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment. And for the past three years Iran has been violating nonproliferation agreements.
This week's resolution, accordingly, should have been passed three years ago. The hour is late but, assuming Western intelligence estimates are correct, not too late to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal.
The lone representative to vote against the resolution, from Qatar, claimed that it was ill-timed, given that the region was already "inflamed." The majority seemed to be acting according to the obvious and opposite logic: that now is precisely the time, just after Iran's proxy force in Lebanon has plunged that country and Israel into war, to show Iran that the international community will not be intimidated.
Indeed, Israel's conflict with Hizbullah is inseparable from the international conflict with Iran. Hizbullah is Iran's international terrorist arm.
Yesterday, senior Iranian mullah Ahmad Jannati called on Muslim states "to not hold back any support â€¦ to Hizbullah and the Lebanese people. â€¦ Hassan Nasrallah has currently become the man of the century."
The defeat of Hizbullah will be a defeat for Iran. As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pointed out last night, Hizbullah, and through it, Iran, will no longer hold over Israel the threat of a massive missile attack. Many, possibly most, of those missiles have been destroyed or expended and, no less significantly, the Israeli public has shown the ability to withstand such attack without collapsing and with tremendous determination to fight back.
The purpose of the Security Council's action is precisely to prevent Iran from obtaining a global, nuclearized version of the local missile threat Israel is now lifting from itself.
Iran has already rejected the Security Council resolution, and it can be assumed that it will not comply with it by the resolution's August 31 deadline. The question then will become whether these same nations will impose draconian sanctions - coupled with the threat of military action if necessary - potent enough to force Iran to back down.
If they do not, these nations will be asking a version of what many Israelis are asking themselves now: how could we have allowed a terrorist army, bristling with missiles that could reach deep into our country, to develop?
The price Israel is now paying for allowing this to happen is hardly trivial, and we have yet to determine how successful we will be, both in the short and long term. The price that Israel and the world would pay for allowing Iran to develop a nuclear umbrella for its terrorist activities would be much higher, and even more clearly intolerable.
On Monday, President George Bush stated categorically, "Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hizbullah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon." The US is working hard on cobbling together an international force to bring this about.
It is somewhat strange, given the current full recognition that Iran is the culprit behind the suffering of so many Israelis and Lebanese, that this week's Security Council resolution on Iran makes no mention of that nation's support for terrorism. This is a worrisome omission.
It is inconceivable that Iran could give up its nuclear ambitions and be showered with Western technology and guarantees, without having given up its support for terrorism. Yet this is how the just-passed resolution is constructed. It is not too soon for Israel to demand, and for the US to assert, that the next such resolution link sanctions to all forms of Iranian international aggression, including support for terrorism.