The idea of putting a negotiated end to the Afghan conflict is finally gaining some traction, but nobody should expect that negotiations can completely end the Afghan conflict.
The kind of blatant disregard of one of the pillars of international consular relations that was on display in Tehran today may yet nudge China and Russia more toward the west.
The much anticipate bombshell report from the IAEA on Iran's nuclear activities is out. The drama now moves to the IAEA Board of Governors which can recommend a course of action to deal with the report's conclusion that Iran has a robust and ongoing nuclear program despite international prohibitions.
As the UK burned, functionaries of the Iranian regime had fun at the UK government's expense. A collection of quotes from Iranian officials about the UK riots.
A new UN report shows that Iran sanctions are slowing Tehran's attempts to develop nuclear technology.
Hillary Clinton today delivered the US government's strongest statement on the unfolding situation in Iran. She comes out swinging.
Moments ago, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations selected 41 members of the executive board of the newest UN body, UN Women. And much to everyone's surprise (and, overwhelming pleasure) Iran was kept off the board.
Major demonstrations are underway in Tehran today, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The Guardian is providing the full Nico Pitney treatment, and continuously collecting first hand accounts and videos from the day's events. So far, it looks like the government is firmly in control of the situation and has been able to keep the crowds dispersed.
Following Ban Ki-moon's "congratulating" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, 200-plus "intellectuals, activists and defenders of rights," including a number of Nobel Prize winners, have signed an open letter to the Secretary-General contesting the Iranian elections and urging him to take a number to steps to withhold support for the Iranian regime and protect the rights of Iranian protestors. Another Nobel laureate, Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, has also stressed that Ban should send a truth-finding commission to Iran and push for a re-election.
There's nothing wrong with -- and in fact much reason to support -- sending a truth-finding commission to Iran (though try telling that to Ahmadinejad), and even more reason to speak out against the human rights abuses of Iranian protestors. In fact, Ban has spoken out against the violence curtailing of press and assembly rights that followed the election, and a UN report on the country is due at the end of the year. But what's harder to responsibly call for is the group letter's final recommendation -- essentially, that the UN Secretary-General denounce Iran's government.
Refuse to recognise Ahmadinejad's illegitimate government that has staged an electoral coup, and curtailing any and all forms of co-operation with it from all nations and international organisations
This is similar to the implicit position in the negative reactions -- fewer, I admit, than I'd expected -- to Ban' perfunctory "congratulation" of Ahmadinejad, and to critics of President Obama's unwillingness to denounce the Iranian regime outright. This sort of criticism is entirely myopic, though, even for skeptics of strategies of engagement and cooperation. No matter how farcical Iran's election was, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is currently the leader of Iran, and no support that the international community bestows or withholds will change that -- in fact, the latter would likely only exacerbate tensions.
Ban Ki-moon is the Secretary-General of 192 United Nations, and Barack Obama the president of the most powerful country in the world. They both have to deal with Iran. Cooperation is much easier than confrontation, and the goals -- ensuring that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon, for instance -- are far more important than the unproductive act of denouncing Iran's leaders.