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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Russia agrees to new sanctions on Iran?

Reuters is reporting that Russia has agreed to new sanctions on Iran.
[Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev made clear that Moscow was ready to back further sanctions against the Islamic Republic unless it changes course on its nuclear program, despite Russia's general reluctance to support such punitive measures.

"Russia's position is simple," he said. "Sanctions are seldom productive but they are sometimes inevitable."


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to join his counterparts from the other five countries to discuss their Oct. 1 meeting with an Iranian delegation in Geneva. It is the six powers' first meeting with Iran since July 2008.

Russia had previously ruled out new sanctions against Iran but appears to have reversed its position.

Obama announced last week that he would scrap plans for a U.S. missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland that had angered Russia. Washington and Moscow have denied any quid pro quo deal on Iran sanctions in exchange for scrapping the shield, but analysts and U.N. diplomats suspect otherwise.

The previous U.S. administration said the shield would protect against an attack by Iran but Moscow suspected it was the target. Moscow's anger about the project was one of the reasons U.S.-Russian relations sank to a post-Cold War low.

Russia and China reluctantly backed three council resolutions imposing sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program but worked hard to dilute the measures.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the United Nations on Tuesday. Mottaki said afterward that the Western powers knew sanctions were a failed policy.

"If they would like to taste once again the failed policies, that is up to them," he said.

The United States and Germany have called for targeting Iran's energy sector if it refuses to suspend its enrichment program. The U.N. sanctions in place against Tehran focus on its nuclear and missile industries.
Let's not celebrate prematurely. Russia may be willing to endorse sanctions but what's left unsaid is what sanctions they might be willing to endorse and whether those sanctions might be effective.

We're still a long way from stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

But China isn't, and most of Europe isn't interested, and it's too late anyway... so even if we hope for the best with this report, it makes no difference whatsoever.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Even the Russians agree - China has just supplied Iran with enough high quality oil to make any sanctions with real bite a meaningless gesture. And are the Europeans willing to give up their lucrative trade with Iran?

We have yet to see the world become serious in dealing with the Iranian threat.

What could go wrong indeed


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