Iran Unbowed

The UN Security Council approved a resolution yesterday (Wednesday, June 9th) imposing a fourth round of sanctions on Iran in response to its continued nuclear enrichment program, which is in violation of prior Security Council resolutions.  The vote was 12 in favor, 2 against (Brazil and Turkey) and 1 abstention (Lebanon).  The new resolution imposes new financial restrictions on Iran, expands an existing arms embargo, and authorizes a greater capacity to stop and search Iranian cargo ships. Targeted sanctions on specific individuals and entities were expanded. The resolution also includes measures directed against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

While the United States, Great Britain, and France were the resolution’s strongest sponsors, China and Russia also expressed their verbal support along with their votes — although the Russian ambassador added a major caveat in his response to a reporter’s question about Russia’s prospective sale of a sophisticated anti-aircraft system to Iran.

Lebanon’s decision to abstain was a pleasant surprise, considering the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in the Lebanese government. Brazil and Turkey, as expected, opposed the new resolution on the grounds that it could undermine a proposed nuclear fuel swap between Iran and the two countries. They seemed to forget that the European Union has been trying to negotiate with Iran since 2005 and the Obama administration waited 18 months while trying to engage Iran before seeking passage of this resolution.  Only when new sanctions became a real possibility did Iran come around to the fuel swap concept that it had first agreed upon and then promptly reneged on last fall.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after the vote that the “resolution is strong, it’s tough and it’s comprehensive. And it is something that Iran fought very hard to prevent passage today. The effort, the time, the money, and the poise that they employed to try to prevent this resolution’s passage only underscores their understanding, that this is a major blow.”

Despite the ineffectiveness of the three prior resolutions, Ambassador Rice expressed confidence that the cumulative effect on Iran of all the resolutions is “harmful and hurtful.”

Iran remains unbowed. Its representative told the Security Council after the vote that it had no intention of changing its present course. He accused the United States and Great Britain in particular of continuing a long pattern of interference in Iran’s affairs and displaying a double standard vis-a-vis Israel. Ambassador Rice told reporters that these comments were “reprehensible, offensive, and inaccurate.”

On paper at least, the new resolution does appear to represent a significant move forward from the prior three. More specifically, the resolution prohibits Iran from investing in sensitive nuclear activities abroad, like uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, as well as activities involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The ban also applies to investment in uranium mining.

States are prohibited from selling or in any way transferring to Iran various categories of heavy weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and certain missiles or missile systems). States are similarly prohibited from providing technical or financial assistance for such systems, or spare parts.

The resolution also sets up a new cargo inspection framework. States are expected to inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items. States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas.

States are called upon to prevent any financial service and to freeze any asset that could contribute to Iran’s proliferation.

Most significantly, the resolution targets the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its role in proliferation and requires states to mandate that businesses exercise vigilance over all transactions involving the IRGC. Fifteen IRGC-related companies linked to proliferation will have their assets frozen. The IRGC is the major power center in Iran’s economic and military spheres as well as one of the government’s primary instruments for suppressing political dissent. Impairing the IRGC’s freedom of operations will be a significant accomplishment, if successful.

UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against pre-liberation Iraq, North Korea, and Iran have had a bad track record in actual practice. The resolutions have been easy for the sanctioned countries to evade through the use of multiple front entities, money laundering and trading partners unwilling to give up short term advantage for longer term peace and security.

Also, enforcement of the cargo inspection at sea will be a challenge if Iran, as expected, refuses to cooperate. When the French UN ambassador, for example, was asked what measures France would be willing to take in such a scenario, he refused to answer what he called a “hypothetical question.”

Most ominously, the Russian UN ambassador told reporters that Russia did not consider the sale of its sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft system to Iran to be within the resolution’s scope. The S-300 missile defense system would no doubt be used by Iran to shield its nuclear sites against a potential air strike, should military force become necessary to stop Iran from producing nuclear bombs. The Russian ambassador is technically correct because the resolution’s ban on the transfer to Iran of certain missile systems is written in such a way that it creates a big loophole for Russia to walk through in delivering to Iran its ground-to-air missiles, including its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and anti-missile interceptors.

The Obama administration will spin the latest sanctions resolution against Iran as a major diplomatic triumph and a significant obstacle in the way of Iran’s progress towards achieving nuclear arms capability.  But  until the S-300 loophole is closed, until the U.S. and its allies figure out a way to effectively stop evasions of the sanctions, and until enough countries show that they are willing to enforce the cargo inspections, the Obama administration might want to wait before it celebrates.

  • jim

    Yet more sanctions… and the beat goes on. Already proven multiple times to be ineffective, sanctions only serve to give Iran more time to complete its goal: the development of nuclear weapons.

    And that time is almost upon us, that is, if it hasn't already passed us by. Iran will soon have nukes, and then the distribution process to terrorist organizations will begin.

    What then follows will give horrific meaning to Obama's campaign slogan. The world will definitely change, and talk of nuclear non-proliferation will be a thing of the past.

  • adah@israel

    after ahmadinejad's indefference to usa sanctions (tnx to mr.obama) , the influence of usa on other countries getting less and less.

    • Rifleman

      That's his stated goal, reduce US influence.

  • Brett

    Sanctions will not stop this despotic regime from doing what they really want to do which is to wipe Israel off the map and since Obama doesnt have the cahonies to do anything militarily about it, we can only hope that Israel will. If this regime is allowed to have a nuke we will see a nuclear exchange at some point or at least nuclear blackmail on Irans part.

  • USMCSniper

    Don't worry, I'm putting the Iranians on double secret probation."

    • Stephen D.

      Be careful Iran! Next thing you know, the President will frown deeply furrowed brows at you. If you continue defying world opinion, he'll stomp his feet!! THEN what will you do!

  • BS1977

    Sanctions are a euphemism for appeasement. The only thing that will be effective is a precision demolition of Iran's nuclear weapon's facilities….piles of smoking rubble will make sanctions irrelevant. Why wait until that little Hitler has several atomic bombs ready for shipment to some terror goon squad??….for a city in Europe or the US to go up in a mushroom cloud??. I have been to Iran and I love the Iranian people and its ancient culture…Stand with the students over there…the Achmidinejad government is a brutal dictatorship and must be eliminated, just like Hitler….and it won't be done with sanctions and appeasement. There is no substitute for VICTORY (MacArthur)

  • Thunder

    another great article – NEEDLESS!
    Those little bestretards with power understand only one thing – POWER!

    Just hit 'em very, very hard.
    What Mekka?;)

  • USMCSniper

    These sanctions are toothless: MOSCOW, June 10 (Xinhua) — Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the contract on the supply of multiple targeting S-300 air defense systems and missles to Iran is not covered by the new sanctions imposed on Tehran by the UN Security Council.

    "Yesterday's resolution on Iran refers to particular kinds of weapons. I can tell you that all air defense systems with the exception of portables are not liable for the UN conventional arms restrictions," according to a ministry spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko.

  • Mike

    Sanctions are a way for unprincipled weak nations to do something without doing anything. Its like pissing in dark colored pants. Warm feeling but nobody notices. Lying and deception has become global sport. Hypocracy of nations concerning Israel –Crazy.In another time or concerning another country , the actions Israel took in the flotilla incident would not be questioned. The Bible said that ther would come a time such as this. Calling Evil good and Good evil. The prophet Zechariah 12:3 foretold that one day ALL nations would stand against Israel. All includes the USA. Obama is the first to be so anti- Israel. More so than Carter, Obama supports your enemies. The prophet Ezekiel foretold that one day a confederacy of nations would seek to invade Israel.All these nations are today Islamic and include Iran, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, think Hezbolla,Gaza,think Hamas and as a special treat, Turkey. Israel you are alone!! Only God stands between you and your enemies. Only God.

  • Kim Bruce

    Does Obama and the UNSC think that will stop the Iranian Guard Warships from accompanying the next flotilla of "Medical supplies" (a.k.a. X-ray machines ) coming out of Iran?

  • topperj

    Sanctions hurt the citizenry. Iran's mullahs could care less about their citizens. What a freakin' joke.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If Teheran was turned into glass it would stop all of this crap now and the besotted
    fools at the UN could all go home and learn to play nice. If that were not enough
    maybe Lebanon and Syria could become parking lots and Turkey a thanksgiving
    day surprise……………………I think talking wimp is what has gotten America and
    Israel in the mess it is in today, no prisoners, that attitude will be all that will
    be left if the meterosexuals in DC keep up their effete sanctions antics………William

  • Bobbie

    Lots of huffing and puffing by Obama administration. This thug is unbowed because we allowed him to, etc. Now only if US had a president that didn't appease, bow and apologized to thugs…

  • dilly

    nice post, I believe that any who knows the digital transcription services is right

  • Rick Stanich

    obama is a muslim . end of story . How far do you think these sanctions are actually going to hurt iran .. It's all window dressing to entice the idiotic public into believing that the barak Hussein govt. is actually concerned about WESTERN security . Iran will build it's bomb , thanks to the Muslim upbringing of barak Hussein obama