Iran is a long term diplomatic problem
You will not hear this sort of calm analysis from the administration, but then again we should not expect accurate analysis any longer.
UPDATE 1530 EST.
Despite all the sloppy and inaccurate headlines about Iran "going nuclear," the fact is that all President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was that it had enriched uranium to a measely 3.5 percent, using a bank of 180 centrifuges hooked up so that they "cascade."
The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180. Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb, and since its leaders, including Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, say they do not want an atomic bomb because it is Islamically immoral, you have to wonder if they will ever have a bomb.
UPDATE 1530 EST.
"When the Security Council reconvenes [later this month], I think it will be time for action," Rice said. "We can't let this continue."This is a long term problem, and with the short term (and potentially long term) trouble in Iraq, America must address this diplomatically, for now. Perhaps the United States can act as a vocal vanguard pressing for action (with middle players in Russia and France?) but military action during this administration is most likely not necessary -- unless Iran were to cross a red line that I do not believe they intend to cross.
Rice did not elaborate on what type of action the Security Council should take, but senior department officials said it could include a move to impose a travel ban against Iranian officials and freezing assets of the regime.
The latter is already in effect in the United States, but a U.N. resolution on similar action would require approval of all 185 U.N. members.
Foreign ministers in Russia and Britain on Wednesday joined the United States in expressing concern about Iran's announcement.