How much former Attorney General John Ashcroft has made as a lobbyist representing four clients for just three months.
Iran will likely soon be referred to the U.N. Security Council. The State Department’s stated hope is that this move will coalesce world opinion leading into a new round of negotiations, which thus far have been undertaken with little to no direct involvement from three central players: Russia, China, and the United States.
In other words, this is a new effort to solve the issue diplomatically — not, as hardliners argue, to move directly to punitive measures like strict sanctions or military action. As Robert Joseph, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, said Wednesday, “We’ve always said that going to the Security Council is not an end in itself and did not signal an end to negotiations.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went even further:
“Nobody is saying that there have to be immediate sanctions in the Security Council,” Rice said in an interview with CBS News.
“Everybody wants to give the Iranians a chance to show us — to reconsider their position,” she said. …
“And then, we’re going to have consultations about what to do next,” she said. “I don’t think anyone is talking about sanctions today. We’re talking now about the referral and then we’ll see what’s necessary.”
Actually, someone is talking about sanctions today, describing them as the “number one item on the agenda.” Here’s Vice President Cheney, asked about Iran on Wednesday by Fox News’ Tony Snow:
Well, I think the next step will be probably to go before the U.N. Security Council. What would be probably the number one item on the agenda would be the resolution that could be enforced by sanctions, were they (the Iranians) to fail to comply with it.
So how long before we learn of a newly-formed White House Iran Group?
President Bush, 1/13/06:
Iran, armed with a nuclear weapon, poses a grave threat to the security of the world.
President Bush 10/7/02:
Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace…The threat comes from Iraq…It is seeking nuclear weapons.
UPDATE: More deja vu. An annotated satellite image of Iran. Read more