A paper tiger's roar



Orlando Sentinel: Iran's fanatical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, got it right for once when he dismissed the latest U.N. sanctions against his regime as "superficial."
The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution with the sanctions, almost four months after Iran spurned a deadline to halt its nuclear program. But the sanctions are too weak to work. Iran already has vowed to go full speed ahead with its program.
Iran insists its program to enrich uranium -- which can be used for nuclear power or bombs -- is only for peaceful purposes. But its years of deceiving the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency give its claims no credibility.
Thin gruel
The Security Council resolution calls for a ban on trade in materials for Iran's nuclear and missile programs and a freeze on assets for a handful of officials and companies connected with those programs. But the measure was repeatedly watered down before passage at the insistence of Russia, which does lots of business with Iran.
Most disturbingly, a nuclear power plant that Russia is building in Iran was exempted from sanctions. That plant eventually could produce fuel for nuclear weapons.
The course of the resolution is the latest example of Russia's increasingly anti-American agenda and Washington's ebbing international influence. The Bush administration needs to devote more attention to confronting both trends.
The resolution allows for stronger sanctions in 60 days if Iran doesn't halt its nuclear program. Next time, the council needs to be ready with real penalties if it hopes to deny Iran the bomb.

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