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‘US-led sanctions on Iran illegal’

Interview with Mohammad Marandi, professor of University of Tehran

Press TV – November 22, 2011

Britain the United States have imposed new sanctions on Iran’s banking system and energy sector after the UN nuclear agency’s recent report on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, circulated among the 35 members of the agency’s Board of Governors on November 8, accused Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program.

Iran said the new round of sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program are fruitless.

Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry has also denounced the new sanctions as “unacceptable and illegal.”

The Russian ministry’s statement also warned against the adverse affects of fresh anti-Iran sanctions, saying, “We believe that the constant strengthening of sanctions has long ago gone beyond the bounds of decisions on non-proliferation tasks surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.”

Press TV has interviewed Mohammad Marandi, professor of University of Tehran, to discuss the issue further.

Press TV: Are these sanctions, to begin with, actually legal?

Marandi: They are definitely not legal –just like many previous sanctions– because the Americans and the Europeans along side with the Americans are trying to impose their will upon the international community, they’re basically trying to force third countries not to do business with Iran and this is not new; this has been going on for many years but more or less it has not had the sort of effect that they have been looking for. They have been trying to increase sanctions but there really is not much more left that they could do.

The Iranians have more or less over the last decades moved away from trading with Europe and the United States and the sectors in which the Americans are now trying to put pressure on –meaning petrochemicals and oil and gas– these are sectors which are in high demand throughout the world. So Iran definitely will have customers and Iran has –because of the sanctions– developed its own industry for building petrochemical plants as well as facilities for producing oil. So the fact has minimized over the years and indeed it caused Iran basically to learn to look for alternative partners than the West. In some ways, it actually benefited Iran.

Press TV: And when we look at the countries involved, as you mentioned, Western countries –but in particular it is the United States, the UK and France– they are basing this on the most recent IAEA report that came out which in itself is controversial and has been labeled as being politically motivated. So it is kind of confusing when you have a report that is inconclusive because Iran has been transparent and then based on that, they come out and impose these sanctions.

Marandi: I think for the international community it is quite clear that the IAEA chief [Yukiya Amano] does not have any credibility and that the new report is based on very old information that goes back to a simple laptop that the Americans claim proves that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has a military aspect to it. The Iranians said that this laptop –which the Americans say they obtained many years ago– the Iranians said it should be shown to computer experts to see if it is authentic. The Americans refused to give it to the IAEA or to give it to independent computer experts to analyze and –as the Iranians point out– this shows that it is a fabricated piece of evidence.

So the report itself does not contain anything new but the United States and the Europeans, in their rather irrational hostility towards Iran which to a large degree has to do with their rapidly declining fortunes in the Middle East and beyond, they continue to pursue hostile policies towards the Iranian people.

One of the interesting things is that this is probably the worst public diplomacy move that the Americans can make because they and the Europeans are obviously trying to hurt ordinary Iranians, trying to make ordinary Iranians suffer and that of course is itself a violation of human rights. But the problem is that they have really lost their influence over the country and Iran has many alternatives. You see rising powers in Latin America, in the Far East and in the Indian sub-continent which need Iran and the more Iran trades with them, in fact, the more reliant they become upon Iran.

Press TV: When you talk about diplomatic gestures made by the West, we remember when Barack Obama came into office, he said we are going to keep that dual track approach towards Iran, on the one hand, we are open for talks, on the other, sanctions. Of course it has been more of the sanctions and the negative approach that they have had towards Iran where they have exercised more in terms of any action than any diplomatic push towards trying to resolve any type of standoff. So put that into context for us if you can –a little wrap off of how the current US administration has approached Iran.

Marandi: It has been more or less an arrogant approach in the sense they assume they have the right to punish Iran whenever they see fit and use international organizations to do so and then try to force Iran to speak to them under duress –therefore giving concessions.

What they basically want is for Iran to be like Saudi Arabia –to be a client regime. But again Iran is too strong and too powerful for the US and for the Europeans to make it kneel and the world has changed dramatically over the past few years; more Iranians than ever before are traveling to countries outside of Europe and the US for trade, for studying, even for entertainment and sightseeing. So I think this Euro-centric mold –where the white European males who have been running the world for the last few centuries– this is beginning to break and we see major signs of it in Europe and the US, even now, through economic crises, through the protests that are going on throughout the US, and I don’t think time is really on their side.

November 26, 2011 - Posted by | Deception

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