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New Sanctions on Iran: What’s New? How Effective? The Implicit Goal

By Mohamad Shmaysani | Al-Manar TV | 10/06/2010

It is the fourth round of sanctions on Iran. What next?

During the first three rounds of sanctions since 2006, Iran has developed its peaceful nuclear abilities and cooperated with the international nuclear watchdog (IAEA), which did not find any proof of a military nuclear program to build the A-bomb. The question is what could possibly force the Islamic Republic – the now stronger than ever Iran – to stagger from the sanctions that the international community led by the US has called “crippling”?

The answer is: Probably nothing. Tehran has already announced the sanctions will not force it to change its policy.

Citing Israeli commentators, this new round of sanctions, after a six-month delay, “will not be enough to get Iran to halt its nuclear program…The fight is set to continue in the U.S. Congress, which may vote in favor of more sanctions.” (Haaretz)
This means that Washington will put itself in a row with Beijing and Moscow, which warned the US against taking any unilateral measures against the Islamic Republic.

The new resolution aims to:

1- Ban the supply to Iran of heavy weapons, including tanks, warships, helicopter gunships and missiles.
2- Tighten up the ban on dealings with Iranian banks and individuals, including businesses and members of the Revolutionary Guard
3- Enable states to search any suspect ship or plane.

The Washington-based “Iran Watch” reported last April that the Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) had undertaken “a large-scale re-labeling of its ships, giving them new names, new managers, new ‘owners’ – in short, new identities”.

“The US blacklist has not kept up with these changes, so it is being circumvented by Iran with relatively little effort,” Iran Watch said.

“These are not the crippling sanctions that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised about a year ago,” said James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations, who was a National Security Council official in the Clinton administration.

The sanctions don’t limit the Islamic Republic’s ability to produce or export oil.

Although the sanctions ban the sale of many heavy weapons, countries still will be allowed to sell weapons outside those categories. For instance, Russia still may sell sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which have been a source of concern to the United States. Moreover, many provisions of the sanctions resolution are essentially optional. For instance, governments can limit financial services provided to Iran by companies under their jurisdiction if the services are believed to further certain nuclear activities.

The resolution also says governments may inspect ships on the high seas suspected of carrying forbidden items, but only if they have the consent of the country to which a suspicious ship is registered.

US President Barack Obama and his European allies had initially sought tougher sanctions against Iran which would have included targeting the Islamic Republic’s gas and oil industries and blacklisting Iran’s Central Bank. But Moscow and Beijing rejected the measure.

Nevertheless, Russia and China did vote in favor of (softer) sanctions, but at what price?

Today, Iran supplies about 11 percent of China’s imported oil. North Korea, on the other hand, only receives oil from China – perhaps for free or subsidized – to keep its economy afloat. And China prefers the status quo on the Korean peninsula, all the better to maintain business with South Korea and Japan.

If Iran were to unilaterally cut off oil exports in response to really tough sanctions, or if Israel were to attack Iranian nuclear facilities and ignite a regional war, China’s steady economic progress would suffer.

Like China, Russia has its interests with the West and of course Iran. Voting on low-tone sanctions on Iran, knowing they will have no concrete effect on the Islamic Republic, comes in line with balancing strategic interests with all parties.

If the international community, along with the co-sponsors of the resolution, the U.S., the U.K., and France, are not convinced that the new sanctions will stop Iran’s nuclear program, then why go for them?

Historically, the West has failed to compel Iran into yielding to its hegemonic disposition. During the last presidential election in Iran, the west – namely the US, the UK, and France, employed all their covert political and intelligence gravitas to create a “green revolution” to topple the regime. The scheme failed and the “opposition”, as the West calls it, lost its momentum. The U.S., Britain, and France have been blamed by Iran for running covert operations to spark and augment the demonstrations that followed election results.

Today, it is believed that the main objective of the new sanctions was meant to breathe life into unrest from within Iran on the eve of the first anniversary of the election. Tehran can use the sanctions to boost the Iranians’ drive for more technological development and the so-called opposition can exploit sanctions to put more pressure on the regime.

However, the Iranian reaction to sanctions this morning does not support this last notion.

Newspapers, both conservative and reformist, unanimously denounced the UNSC move as “illegal measures” that “have chalked a new path of confrontation.”

The conservative Kayhan daily ran a headline on its front-page reading: “Wait for Iran’s decisive response to illegal sanctions.” It added that “the credibility of the UN Security Council is ending.”

For its part, the reformist newspaper Aftab e-Yazd carried a front-page editorial, insisting that the Security Council had “set a path to confrontation” between the West and Iran. “Now that the West, along with Russia and China, has adopted the path of confrontation, Iran’s response will be strong,” its editorial said.

“These resolutions are not worth a dime for the Iranian nation,” Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments following the vote. He said he had told world powers “that the resolutions you issue are like a used hanky which should be thrown in the dust bin.”

Of the 15 members of the Security Council, only two – Turkey and Brazil, which have reached a deal under which Iran will deposit much of its low-enriched uranium in Turkey – voted against the sanctions, and Lebanon abstained.

June 10, 2010 - Posted by | Wars for Israel

1 Comment

  1. the sanctions are eyewash — china & russia are keeping their loopholes while humoring israel, knowing that israel tells washington what to do


    Comment by henry | June 10, 2010

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