With New Sanctions On Iran, More Problems
Nearly a year since the tainted presidential election in Iran, the U.N. with strong
American support is making yet another attempt to deter Iran from arming itself
with nuclear weapons. (Creative Commons)
As early as Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council could attempt to deliver a blow to Iran with new sanctions against the resistant American foe.
If the latest resolution is approved, it would represent the fourth set of barriers imposed on Iran since 2006.
The resolution would ban: the sale of conventional weapons to Iran, countries from providing safe harbor to ships suspected of carrying such goods to Iran, travel of individuals and companies dealing with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; and Iranian investment in foreign companies that could provide nuclear weapons.
Ahead of the vote, which requires approval from nine of the 15 nations on the council, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with with Turkey and Russia and blasted the push for more sanctions as "gravely mistaken."
All of this leads to three problems for the Yanks.
A) Is Turkey, America's chief ally in the Muslim world, starting to shift its alliance from the U.S.-Israel contingent toward Iran and the rest of the Middle East?
Since Obama's visit to Turkey a year ago, the countries' relationship has soured. Much of the deterioration has occurred in the past couple of weeks since Israel attacked a mainly Turkish-flotilla. As Turkey becomes more active in foreign policy, the U.S. looks bad in the area when they disagree. The longer this issue drags on, the more likely an ally will disappear.
B) Will Turkey, now with the support of the Brazil, be able to sway enough of the Security Council to vote against this and future sanctions?
The countries worked out a deal last month with Iran to swap enriched nuclear material. Brazil is trying to stand up to the U.S. and establish itself as a dominant world power. Both Turkey and Brazil wanted to criticize the U.N. resolution publicly before the vote, but the U.S. shuttered the opportunity for them to share reservations to a close-door meeting.
While Turkey and Brazil should not be able to defeat the resolution, both nations are growing frustrated by Iran's continued illicit activities. Iran has found many ways around previous sanctions, so that method isn't working. Turkey and Brazil's softer, piecemeal approach is not the answer either.
C) As the New York Times poses, will the Russians and Chinese join Western powers in impressing unilateral sanctions on Iran?
They won't, despite the fact that the American strategy relies on the world's most powerful nations to place harsher sanctions on Iran individually. As long as Russia and Iran benefit from Iranian investments, they won't pull out from the country. Economic sanctions that would have a serious affect on Iran are not forthcoming. Without the support of Eastern powers, Iran will continue to find safe harbors that help it circumvent embargoes.
The BBC writes, "The result of all this is that Security Council sanctions have tended to be the lowest common denominator in which the important thing is to preserve the unity of the council."
American pressure has not caught on during the previous four years. Iran is undermining its security by pursuing nuclear weapons, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates says. But though the U.S. is not weakening its defense, it is not exactly enhancing it either by pursuing a wait-and-see diplomatic approach.
The pressure must come in-person between Ahmadinejad and Obama. Skirting around the issue or banning the acquisition of other weapons is not going to dive into the central issue of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
After Obama's done kicking someone's ass for the BP oil spill, a tussle with Ahmadinejad should be added to the fight-list. With Iran accusing America of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the meeting wouldn't be pretty but when throwing stones is not an option and hiding the cookie jar is not working, a rancorous discussion could prove a worthwhile option.