Saturday, June 13, 2009

News from the Axis of Evil

In Iran both incumbent President Ahmadinejad and his rival, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, both hard-liners on just about every subject, have also both claimed a decisive victory after an election with a high turn-out.
In a news conference held before the balloting was completed, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main challenger of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed a decisive victory. But minutes later, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) announced that Ahmadinejad had won reelection.

"In line with the information we have received, I am the winner of this election by a substantial margin," Mousavi, 67, declared. An aide said the moderate candidate had won 65 percent of the vote.

However, IRNA said, "Dr. Ahmadinejad, by getting a majority of the votes, has become the definite winner of the 10th presidential election."
Official results are expected to be released early on Saturday.

President Obama described the campaign as exciting. Most other people prefer the words bitter and nasty. That, in itself, means nothing. The question is will the losing side accept defeat and if not, what will it do.

Meanwhile, the UN has announced severe sanctions against North Korea in the wake of all those nuclear tests. One can't help feeling excited: we haven't had any UN sanctions for a little while. Not that North Korea or, for that matter, China will pay any attention but it is good to be back in UN sanction-land, which is full of the usual prevarication:
The Security Council's action marked a significant escalation in the United Nations' effort to coerce North Korea into halting a barrage of ballistic missile tests and to prod it back into six-nation talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The 15-nation council is now set to begin negotiations over imposition of an asset freeze or travel ban on additional individuals and
state companies linked to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program.

But the authority of the council's move was mitigated by its unwillingness to use force to ensure compliance, or to impose a comprehensive economic blockade that would severely curtail a boom in North Korean trade, particularly with
China. "This is not a trade embargo," Britain's deputy U.N. ambassador, Philip Parham, said shortly before the vote.

In a sign of its reluctance to cut off Pyongyang, Beijing insisted that today's resolution include an exemption from an arms embargo that allows China to sell Pyongyang small arms and light weapons, including the signature AK-47 used by North Korea's giant military, according to council diplomats.
Good to have a British diplomat, a representative of that Rolls-Royce civil service, explaining the truth. Not a trade embargo, eh? Not an arms embargo, either. So what is it?

It looks like the next leader of the Democratic Republic of North Korea will be Kim Jong Il's youngest son, the 26 year old Kim Jon Un. He has been named Brilliant Comrade by the North Korean media.

UPDATE: Ahmadinejad is declared to be the winner by the Interior Ministry on 62.2 per cent of the vote. His opponent is disputing the results and attacking the conduct of the election. Clashes between supporters of the two have been reported.

From the other member of the Axis of Evil we hear that Pyongyang's response to those UN sanctions is a wow
to "weaponize" all the plutonium it could extract from used fuel rods at its partially disabled Yongbyon nuclear plant.

It also pledged to start enriching uranium to make more nuclear weapons. For the past seven years, North Korea has adamantly denied U.S. intelligence reports that it even had a uranium-enrichment program.
At least now we know for sure. Another huge success for the UN and transnational politics.

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