N. Burns on Iran and Afghanistan Weapons

A few days ago, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns “told CNN”:http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/13/iran.taliban/index.html that there is “irrefutable evidence” that Iran is supplying weapons to the Taliban.

Burns asserted that the weapons are

bq. “certainly coming from the government of Iran. It’s coming from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps command, which is a basic unit of the Iranian government.”

Interestingly, _AP_ reported “the same day”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070613/ap_on_re_eu/iran_taliban&printer=1;_ylt=Avxkb5oRcBl4DMklCLsWYQRbbBAF that the DOS backed off Burns’ accusations a bit. State Dept. spokesperson Sean McCormack said that “[w]e absolutely are certain that there are Iranian-origin weapons flowing into Afghanistan to the Taliban,” but added that

bq. We do not know the extent of any Iranian government involvement at this point.

[As an aside, Spencer Ackerman “noted”:http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/003424.php that SecDef Bob Gates has changed his mind a bit regarding the Iranian government’s involvement in shipping weapons to Afghanistan.]

I don’t want to get into the veracity of these claims, but I would like to point out that such allegations could well be used by the US (or others) to push for more stringent UNSC sanctions on Iran.

p=. *The Resolution Says So*

“UNSC resolution 1747”:http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/sc8980.doc.htm says that

bq. Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel

I “wrote in April”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_04/SecurityCouncil.asp that UNSC resolution 1737 “targeted Iran ‘s nuclear and missile programs,” but the latest one, according to a “European diplomat,” brought more “political” pressure on Tehran. That official, however, “emphasized that ‘all we want is for Iran to end its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities.'” That suggests to me that at least some countries might oppose using the weapons issue as a pretext for imposing new sanctions on Iran.

I bet that the US, however, might embrace such an action with enthusiasm. “Burns said 24 March”:http://www.state.gov/p/us/rm/2007/82163.htm that the weapons ban does not simply address the nuclear question, but is part of an effort to

bq. block and contain and limit Iranian power in the Middle East….blocking their ability and now making illegal their ability to export arms to anybody, that’s a significant step forward.

Lest you think that Burns has forgotten about this, he told CNN that Iran is “in outright violation” of resolution 1747 because Tehran is transferring weapons to Afghanistan, as well as places like Lebanon and Iraq.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

On a louder note, watch Ministry doing Skinny Puppy 17 years ago:

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