Beyond the World news headlines
Bush and Iran; a familiar script
George W Bush’s final tour of Europe as president of the United States has so far been curiously uneventful and curiously familiar. More discussion of Iran, more talk of tougher sanctions if the Islamic republic refuses to stop enriching uranium and another warning that ‘all options’ are on the table to ensure it falls into line.
But despite three rounds of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, Iran has refused to cooperate. Instead it has set about protecting assets at risk from such measures, for example by withdrawing funds from European banks.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Bush “era” had ended and promised that Iran’s foes would not be able to “harm even a centimetre” of its territory.
In the next few days, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana plans to present a revised package of political and economic incentives for Iran to give up enrichment. It is similar to an offer made in 2006 that was rejected.
Is there any more pressure Bush can bring to bear on Iran before he steps down in January? Would a United States government grappling with soaring energy bills want to take any action against the world’s fourth biggest crude exporter that would push the oil price higher still?