Where Is The UN In The Iran/Britain Hostage Stand-Off?

Iran has committed an act of war against the British by capturing 15 of their soldiers in Iraqi waters. Moreover, Iran has broken the Geneva Convention by treating the soldiers as spies, which they can’t do under the Conventions because the men wore uniforms. Additionally, the situation is tense. Britain and the US are engaged in military maneuvers off the coast of Iran and under the circumstances, it would be perfectly legitimate for Britain and the US to launch a military strike against Iran.

So here’s what would seem to be a legitimate question: what is the United Nations doing about this? Isn’t this exactly the sort of crisis they’re supposed to be leading the way on? You’d think so, wouldn’t you…well, maybe not you, if you’re reading Right Wing News.

Conservatives tend to believe that the United Nations is a useless, impotent talking shop that’s utterly incapable of dealing with this sort of situation. But, liberals believe in the UN — don’t they? So, where is their UN now?

“Britain took its case to free its 15 sailors and marines held by Iran to the United Nations on Thursday, asking the Security Council to support a statement that would “deplore” Tehran’s action and demand their immediate release.

But Security Council diplomats said the brief press statement circulated by Britain’s U.N. Mission is likely to face problems from Russia and others because it says the Britons were “operating in Iraqi waters”–a point that Iran contests.

…The text circulated to the 14 other council members said: “Members of the Security Council deplore the continuing detention by the government of Iran of 15 (United Kingdom) naval personnel.”

It added that the British crew was “operating in Iraqi waters as part of the Multinational Force-Iraq under a mandate from the Security Council under resolution 1723 and at the request of the government of Iraq” and it called for their “immediate release.”

A press statement is the weakest action the Security Council can take, but the statement must be approved by all council members. Diplomats said Britain was also weighing a stronger presidential statement, which unlike a press statement, is read at a formal Security Council meeting and becomes part of its official record.

The council diplomats said informal discussion of the proposed British statement indicated the issue of where the incident took place raised problems for some council members, including Russia. Some members also want to hear the Iranian side, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

…The British initially circulated a press statement, which is the weakest action that the U.N. Security Council could take, but diplomats said they might be considering a stronger presidential statement, which unlike a press statement, is read at a formal council meeting and becomes part of its official record.”

So, in order to resolve this stand off that Iran has created, the UN is considering voting on a letter that says they “deplore” the whole thing, but of course, it won’t even be read into the official record — and they can’t even get blanket support for that.

I’m sure the Iranians are absolutely terrified of the consequences of that completely meaningless statement. Why, to have some bunch of pasty-faced bureaucrats at the UN voting that they “deplore” your actions — oooh, how would they ever stand the shame?

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