Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sanctions or no sanctions?

A generation ago, the World's reaction to the IAEA's revelations might have been the destruction of Iran. Unfortunately, that won't be the case, particularly with this President in office. The question is what - if anything - will be done. And the answer to that depends whom you ask.

Here in Israel, the expectations are low. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is rumored to be pushing for Israeli action, is not optimistic that the World will do anything to stop Iran.
Addressing the IAEA report, the reported contents of which have been leaked to various international newspapers in recent days, Barak said, "we've known these things for years."

"We know more [about Iran] than The Washington Post knows and we know more than the IAEA does," he added.

Israel is expecting the United States to take the lead in pushing the United Nations and other Western countries to impose tougher, new sanctions on Iran following the publication of the incriminating IAEA report.
But so far, at least, the United States is trying to 'lead from behind' again. The Obama administration is unwilling to even try the two sanctions that could really destroy the Iranian economy: Barring all sales of Iranian oil and gas products, and barring banks from doing business with the Iranian Central Bank.
"I think you will see bilateral sanctions increasing," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

However, because of Russian and Chinese opposition, chances for another UN Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran for its atomic program are slim, the official said.

"We will be looking to impose additional pressure on the Iranian government if they are unable to answer the questions raised by this report," a second US official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "That could include additional sanctions by the United States. It could also include steps that we take together with other nations."


"From our side, we are really looking to close loopholes wherever they may exist," the first US official said, adding that US sanctions are so comprehensive that "there is not a whole lot out there other than the oil and gas market -- and you know how sensitive that is. I don't think we are there yet."

Asked where additional US sanctions might come, the official said: "You want to look for other commercial banks, further identify and go after some of these front companies ... we want to try to clamp down on some of that."

The official also played down the chances of sanctioning Iran's central bank, which is the clearinghouse for much of its petroleum trade, the mainstay of the Iranian economy.

"That is off the table" for now, he said. "That could change, depending on what other players (think). I don't want to rule that out but it is not really currently on the table."

The official said there were limits to how much pressure the United States, acting on its own, could place on Iran without targeting the petroleum industry or the central bank.

"The reality is that without being able to put additional sanctions into these key areas, we are not going to have much more of an impact than we are already having," he said. Existing sanctions are hurting Iran, he said.
China urged Iran to behave 'flexibly' but is apparently unwilling to go along with any further sanctions. China holds a veto in the UN Security Council.
China's official Xinhua news agency also suggested that Beijing would respond warily to the report. The UN watchdog still "lacks a smoking gun", Xinhua said in a commentary.

"There are no witnesses or physical evidence to prove that Iran is making nuclear weapons," it said.

"In dealing with the Iran nuclear issue, it is extremely dangerous to rely on suspicions, and the destructive consequences of any armed action would endure for a long time."

China is likely to face difficult choices as it tries to keep steady ties with the United States, which is likely to introduce new unilateral sanctions on Iran.

"If these sanctions harm China's substantive interests, then China will have to respond in some way," said Li Hong, the secretary general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, a government-controlled body.

"It would certainly have an impact on bilateral relations," Li said in an interview.
France wants to convene the UN Security Council, but that appears to be an exercise in futility.
"Convening of the UN Security Council is called for," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told RFI radio, adding that pressure needed to be ramped up on Iran and that France was willing to go further with sanctions.

"We cannot accept this situation which is a threat," said Juppe.
But a threat to whom? Notice that Juppe doesn't even mention Israel. Does he mean a threat to France? Well, maybe.
"We are approaching a reality of a balance of terror in the Middle East, and Iran's missile range covers most European capitals. Anyone who thinks he's immune [to the danger] is making a mistake," [Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Shaul] Mofaz said, explaining that this the moment of truth for the Western world's foreign policy.

Speaking in an Army Radio interview, Mofaz contended that the report's findings were not news to Israel "but exposed the true face of Iran and its intentions."

The report "constitutes an opportunity for the free world to take action," he continued.

"I think the time has come to intensify sanctions on Iran that will paralyze the Iranian economy."

Mofaz stated that "military action of any kind, particularly from Israel, is the last and worst action at this time, but all options must be on the table and ready. We will not accept a nuclear Iran."
Meanwhile, Iran is laughing all the way to the bank.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday declared that Tehran will not pull back "even a needle's width" from its nuclear path, even after an incriminating UN report on its nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad decried the UN nuclear watchdog's report - which was released Tuesday night - saying it damaged the International Atomic Energy Agency's dignity and was based on "invalid" US claims.

"You should know that this nation will not pull back even a needle's width from the path it is on," he said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television. "Why do you damage the agency's dignity because of America's invalid claims?" he asked.

Ahmadinejad's comments echoed those of Iran's IAEA envoy on Tuesday, who spoke shortly after the report's release.
What could go wrong?

Labels: , , , ,


At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make sure to count all the luggage when the IAEA officials meet with the Iranians again. Make sure there are no extras [full of cash] to help them "soften" their language [lie].


Post a Comment

<< Home