Time to ratchet up sanctions
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Time to ratchet up sanctions

China, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, announced earlier this week that now is not the right time for tougher sanctions on Iran.

As we shake our heads in disbelief, we demand to know from China just when will it be a good time for sanctions? When Iran has nuclear warheads?

Iran dismissed an end-of-the year deadline set by the Obama administration for a deal to export its uranium for enrichment, which would have ensured it could not be enriched to weapons-grade. The revelation of the Qom reactor in the base of a mountain has raised suspicions around the world – except in China, apparently – and compounds the difficulties of gathering intelligence on Iran’s nuclear installations.

The international community needs to act swiftly and strongly with sanctions; the alternatives are much more frightening. If sanctions fail, then we either must learn to live with a nuclear Iran and the fear that comes with it, or face an imminent military strike by the United States or Israel.

Israel’s military deterrence suffered another setback this week when an Iraqi newspaper reported that Iraq would seek help from the United Nations in pressuring Israel to pay damages for its 1981 attack on the Osirak reactor. Condemned by world opinion at the time, that attack is generally credited for preventing Iraq from attaining nuclear weapons ahead of the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict.

The whole world is safer because of Israel’s pre-emptive strike. Israel should be rewarded, not forced to pay damages.

Enough time has been expended in trying to find a diplomatic solution with Iran. Its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to flout international demands or flaunt his country’s nuclear program. He’s also flouting the will of his people, who are fighting to have their voices heard. We must press for tougher sanctions now while there is still time – and we must support the people of Iran as they struggle for freedom.

J.L.

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