CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia, one of the countries which ignored the United Nations to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq, said on Friday the Iran nuclear standoff would be an important test for the world body to show what it could do.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who alongside U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair committed forces to the Iraq war, said he supported the U.N. Security Council decision to intervene on Iran.
"This will be an interesting test for the United Nations," Howard told Australian radio.
"People who were critical of George Bush, myself and Tony Blair and others over Iraq because we didn't endlessly keep going back to the United Nations in 2003 now have an opportunity to see how effectively the United Nations will work," he said.
The U.N. Security Council is to take up the issue of Iran's nuclear research, which the West suspects is designed to give the country atomic bomb technology. Iran says its nuclear programme is for civilian use only.
The United States says Iran is now its number one challenge, but says it has no plans to go to war in Iran.
Opponents of the Iraq war said the United Nations should have been given more time to solve the crisis over Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led military campaign to oust former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
No weapons of mass destruction have ever been found.
Howard said the Iran nuclear standoff was a "huge worry", and he fully supported the matter going to the U.N Security Council. Australia is a founding member of the United Nations but is not a member of the Security Council.
"I'm in favour of this matter going to the United Nations, I'm in favour of the United Nations exercising all the influence it can to bring about a change in Iran, and let's hope that it works," he said.
In the segment dedicated to the town of Ramadi, hooded men are seen slaying and butchering sheep and then delivering cuts of fresh meat in black plastic bags to children in the street, a helping hand to the poorer families.
It is children of Ramadi who the terrorist formation are seeking to influence. In a segment entitled "Lions of the country in the city of Ramadi", a hooded man carrying a microphone and his camera-wielding colleague interview youngsters on the streets. The children contest the US presence and say they are happy that Ramadi remains under the control of the mujahadeen.
Forty six minutes in, the presenter announces the visit by mujahadeen to the schools of Ramadi. The first to welcome the men, again masked, are boys in class 6B, aged 10-11. As well as reciting jihadi songs, the youngsters are asked for an opinion on the US. "Americans kill children" one boy says.
The Ansar al-Sunna operatives then move on to talk to much younger boys, in their first years at primary school.
The school appears a modern, solid and well kept structure, albeit spartan; the children are clean, tidily dressed and seem well-nourished.
After exhaustive chemical and radiation tests, authorities with the Moscow-backed government announced that the culprit was not poison, but a form of mass hysteria. The whole episode was triggered, most doctors now believe, by the extreme and chronic levels of stress among children who have experienced a war with Moscow that lasted more than 10 years and its devastating economic aftermath.
Yet with Chechen rebel leaders issuing proclamations that the Russian military has secretly poisoned the schools with nerve gas, and public health officials at a loss to explain why after months of treatment the children are only getting worse, parents — and some local physicians — are not ready to accept the official diagnosis. Very few are willing to send their children back to the schools where they were first afflicted.
"The fact is that the children are getting worse. No treatment helps them," said Khazman Bachayeva, principal at School No. 2 here, where only 30 of 998 students showed up for school recently. "And as of today, nobody has given us a concrete explanation. All they say is, it's psychological stress. Well, the parents don't buy that, and I don't buy it either."
Sultan Alimkhadzhiyev, Chechnya's deputy health minister, said it was difficult to explain to parents that their children had become living specimens of what it means to grow up with the constant threat of violence and chronic joblessness and poverty.