Sunday, 25 March 2007

Fresh sanctions on Iran

Iran is receiving more punishment by the international community over its stubborn diplomacy and inability to halt its un-inspected nuclear (weapons) program.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to approve a resolution that bans all Iranian arms exports and freezes some of the financial assets of 28 Iranian individuals and entities linked to Iran's military and nuclear agencies.

The 15 to 0 vote came one day after President Mahmoud Admadinejad canceled plans to travel to New York to confront the Security Council, leaving his foreign minister to speak in his place. It unfolded as 15 British sailors and marines seized by Iranian naval forces were transferred to Tehran, escalating diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
The measures adopted Saturday fell far short of the punishing trade, travel and military sanctions initially proposed by the United States and its European partners. But they insisted they were pleased with the outcome.

More penalties may be coming in 60 days unless Iran allows IAEA inspectors to examine its program and provide proof it is not developing a weapons program — a common belief among... well everyone. When will the straw (sanctions) break the camel's (Iran) back? President Admadinejad is already facing enough political pressure over economic and nuclear issues at home. Like US President Bush, I think he will push the envelope of presidential arrogance and defy the public and other branches of the government for as long as possible.

Even though the situation is worsening diplomatically, the EU insists the door is still open for further talks. Whenever it is presented with a good deal, Iran turns it down. However, the US also needs to be less stubborn in its diplomacy; opening the channel of dialogue on Iraq is a step in the right direction.

Are sanctions accomplishing their goals? It's anybody's guess. With Iraq under Saddam, sanctions made everything worse, and argably made Saddam even more powerful while killing many of his people. Some experts think Iran is feeling the pressure of financial sanctions, though. Remember many Iranians are young and globalized; many like their western goods too.

Iran is more likely to go the way of North Korea and accept a deal. Like with N Korea, the world will just have to wait until Iran has enough leverage to get what it wants. Diplomacy is slow, often tedious process, but it is better than, say, the policy the United States held for Iraq. Personally, I would rather have a proto-nuclear state than a failed state whose conflict could spill out of its borders and breed international terrorism. Experts view the Iran threat as somewhat hyped-up too.

By the way, the Iranian capture of 15 British soldiers off of its coast has to be one of the dumbest political moves its made in recent history. The capture is unwarranted and stupid anyways. The UK is a UNSC power with ties to all the other great powers; Iran is not. Now the UK may join the US in having harshly negative feelings for Iran, only worsening the diplomatic measures on several fronts.


Vigilante said...

I have to ask a couple of questions.

Is not the central issue pertaining to Iran problem for American foreign policy Ahmadinejad's revisionist words about Palestine?

A big IF: if a Persian sign-off on an Israeli-Arab treaty of mutual recognition could be had, would that resolve the issue of Iranian nukes?

clearthought said...

I think there are many factors that cause disconfort on both sides — Iran and the United States — one issue being the Iranian president's harsh anti-Israel rhetoric, another being the allegations of meddling in Iraq (which could just be a scapegoat excuse for the Bush administration, who often create false scapegoats), along with Iran's refusal to halt its nuclear program. I think if Iran, Israel, the US, and Palestine all were more open-minded, a treaty of peace and political recognition could be in order and would help relations between all of the countries — including those between Israel and the US and the Arab and Muslim world. Iran still needs to at least let IAEA inspectors in. But with the political situations at home for America, Iran, and even Israel and Palestine, who knows who will next be in charge and how that will shape this nuclear diplomacy we are seeing more and more of. I think the US would rather have the prospect of its own security — even if that is only a sense of security — than the prospect of peace. American foreign policy has consistently focused more on preventing aggression than promoting peace. There are still plenty in the government who think peace is best achieved by though military force. Ahmadinejad may think his hard-line rhetoric is helping him win over supporters abroad, but it is not helping him at home. Respect is an issue all sides need to learn, for without it, real diplomacy cannot take place and real progress cannot be made. It is now in the mutual interest of both Iran and the United States to work together on Iraq. It is in the interest of the US and Israel (since they are allies) to work with Israel's neighbors; peace between Israel and the Arab world also helps lower international terrorism and Muslim extremism, as does quelling the sectarian violence in Iraq. The Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as the civil war in Iraq, have both spread Islamic fundamentalism and created new waves of hopelessness, aggression, and, thus, terrorism and irrationality to those lands in such strife and their allies and supporters.