First, it was the Russians stalling on a new round of UN sanctions against Iran–their excuse was Georgia. Now it’s the Chinese–and their pretext is a U.S. announcement, two weeks ago, of new arms sales to Taiwan. Clearly, both nations do not see Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a strategic threat to their interests, or not as their top security priority.
Clearly, without them, no further UN Security Council resolution can be had to ratchet up sanctions on Iran. The Bush administration has been pursuing its own approach with Tehran by enacting its own set of sanctions, and some have pushed Europe to expand its sanctions regime as a result. But, given that not much time is left for the West to solve this crisis, it is high time Europe realizes it has to enact sweeping sanctions against Tehran without waiting for the Russians and the Chinese to come around. Otherwise, it will be either an attack on Iran (which European leaders deem to be “a catastrophe”) or a nuclear Iran, the consequences of which might be just as disastrous.