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SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2005
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EDITORIAL

It is time for European nations to show their mettle

The battle over Iran's production of enriched uranium could prove an interesting test of the mettle of France and Germany, countries critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Despite repeated conflicts between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors, the step taken Thursday was uninspiring. The IAEA adopted a resolution, drafted by France, Germany and Great Britain, which "expresses serious concerns about Iran's decision to reactivate the uranium conversion facility," said an IAEA spokesperson.

That thundering revelation came hand in hand with a statement by U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging Iran and three European Union countries to keep talking and avoid "any steps that would lead to further escalation."

Revelations about misinformation leading to the U.S. invasion of Iraq are troubling, but just as troubling is the paralysis that afflicts Europe anytime conflict appears possible.

The United States should not have a monopoly on the prevention of wars of mass destruction. Indeed, as Iraq demonstrates all too well, multinational efforts create an important check on overzealous warriors.

More important than consensus, however, is strength. It was the meek response to Iraq's refusal to allow inspections that ultimately led to war.

France and Germany are more vulnerable to an Iranian nuclear attack than is the United States. They need to take ownership of the problem and recognize that their failure to act — quickly and decisively — places their citizens in peril.

Now it is time for the IAEA member countries to demonstrate that they can do better.

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