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Thursday, June 10, 2010

UN Security Council passes weak new sanctions against Iran

The United Nations Security Council passed new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday. The vote was not unanimous (Brazil and Turkey voted against; Lebanon abstained), the sanctions added little to existing sanctions and it took months to get Russia and China to agree to them. But the Obama administration will tout them as a great success anyway (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The five permanent Security Council nations that negotiated the new sanctions — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — along with Germany, also left the door open to new diplomacy. The resolution contained the full text of a 2008 offer for increased civilian nuclear cooperation in exchange for Iran stopping enrichment.

The main thrust of the sanctions is against military, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program and has taken a more central role in running the country and the economy.

The sanctions ratchet up the measures previously taken against 40 individuals, putting them under a travel ban and asset freeze, but adds just one name to the list — Javad Rahiqi, 56, the head of the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center.

The sanctions require countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo is aboard, but there is no authorization to board ships by force at sea. Another added element bars all countries from allowing Iran to invest in nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and other nuclear-related technology.

The United States had sought broader measures against Iran’s banks, insurance industry and other trade, but China and Russia were adamant that the sanctions not affect Iran’s day-to-day economy. Washington and Beijing were wrangling down to the last day over which banks to include on the list, diplomats said, and in the end only one appeared on the list of 40 new companies to be blacklisted.

The Chinese ambassador, Li Baodong, said his country’s conditions on the sanctions were that they not harm the world economic recovery and not affect the Iranian people or normal trade.

Even after China agreed to negotiate with the other Security Council members, its opening position opposed any new sanctions, said a United States official involved in the negotiations. That stance meant new measures took months to negotiate and required significant concessions by the United States.

“With time we got a resolution that we felt was very meaningful and credible and significant,” Ms. Rice said in an interview before the vote. “But had we wanted a low-ball, low-impact resolution we could have had that in a very short period of time.”

In the end, both the energy sector and the Central Bank were mentioned with somewhat tortured wording in the opening paragraphs. That is enough to pursue companies dealing with both, American officials said.

The sanctions include a ban on selling heavy weapons to Iran, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile systems.
Among the many things not included in the sanctions is a ban on assisting Iran in the acquisition of any kind of nuclear technology. To emphasize that point, the Russians announced on Tuesday - the day before the vote on the sanctions - that the Bushehr nuclear power plant built for Iran by Russia will be started up in August.

Does this mean that Congress can now go back to work on its own sanctions bill?

What could go wrong?


At 1:47 AM, Blogger nomatter said...

You mean weaker then the weak sanctions before? Oh boy, and look how Iran responded to those!

We have no leaders in this world. (except the ones we con ourselves into thinking are leaders)

Iran got strong due to the weakness of many not just due to toothless weak sanctions of the past. Iran grew stronger over time because of it.

What, we should expect more?
Ha, ha, this wretched new excuse for a president picked up the already 'dropped ball' but he gave us exactly as expected.

At 3:13 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The sanctions mean nothing to Iran. And it will find ways around them. What they won't do is stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

What could go wrong indeed


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