‘Unprecedented’ EU Sanctions on Iran a Farce

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The European Union has agreed to an “unprecedented” set of sanctions against Iran, banning the importation of Iranian oil to its member states while also imposing currency and commodity sanctions on Iran’s central bank. But far from forcing Iran into a corner, the latest sanctions leave a backdoor open to the regime, affording it more time and cover to pursue its nuclear objectives.

Three of the weakest economies in Europe will be hit hard by the oil embargo. Italy, Greece, and Spain import 68% of EU oil from Iran. All three nations are in the midst of a sovereign debt crisis that won’t be improved by the scramble to replace the supply of oil from Tehran.

The EU also agreed to ban sales of petrochemical supplies to the Iranians as well as freezing the assets of Iran’s central bank. Gold, silver, and other commodity deals will also be banned.

But, as proof that these tough sounding sanctions will have the bite of a toothless lion, the ban is not scheduled to take effect for several months — July 1 — as EU nations need time to replace the oil imported from Iran with other sources of supply. This will give the Iranians plenty of time to find other buyers for their oil — if they don’t close the spigot to Europe immediately. The official Fars News Agency quoted one Iranian official suggesting that Tehran should halt sales to Europe now “so that the price of oil soars and the Europeans … have trouble.”

The Iranians have also once again threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, but most analysts see that as a bluff since Iran doesn’t have the firepower to stand up to the US Navy, which would almost certainly be called upon to keep the Strait open.

Some states, such as Greece, pleaded with the EU not to impose any oil sanctions at all, or at least, radically alter the terms of the ban. The Greeks import about 20% of their oil from Iran on extremely favorable terms and covering the shortfall and getting the same deal from other oil producing states will almost certainly prove to be impossible. Considering the precarious nature of the Greek economy and an angry, restive populace, civil unrest is not out of the question if gasoline prices skyrocket.

Thus, another round of sanctions against Iran, designed to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table in order to convince the regime to halt its uranium enrichment program, continues to reveal the paralysis of the world community in the face of a determined, radical, terrorist state that is undeterred in its drive to possess the ultimate guarantee against mocking the prophet. The thought of the most powerful weapon on Earth in the hands of the most irresponsible nation on the planet doesn’t seem to elicit much in the way of urgency on the part of any nation in the world — except Israel, of course. And Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to be in a wait-and-see mode as far as sanctions are concerned — at least for the moment. Washington has warned Israel several times not to attack Iran on its own, but the Israeli government doesn’t seem confident that the sanctions will halt Tehran’s drive to possess nuclear weapons.

There have been 4 rounds of sanctions against Iran passed by the United Nations. Each round in itself is severely underwhelming. Beginning in December 2006, the Security Council banned the sale of nuclear related materials and froze the assets of some regime officials. In March 2007, the UN expanded the asset freeze and slapped an arms embargo on Iran. In March of 2008, the asset freeze was extended again, and member states were authorized to monitor ships and planes headed for Iran as well as individuals involved in the nuclear program.

The last round of international sanctions passed in June of 2010, froze the funds of individuals and businesses connected to the Revolutionary Guards and went after the financial sector of the Iranian economy.

In addition to international sanctions, about a dozen individual states — including the US, the EU, Japan, and Australia — have added their own national sanctions on everything from penalizing companies that do business with Iran to preventing the sale of oil and gas equipment to replace Tehran’s aging oil infrastructure.

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  • crackerjack

    Mr Moran is missing the point here.

    This embargo is a message to the Iranians that the EU is ending its dependency on Iranian crude oil, The embargo comes with an inner EU agreement to assist members most hevily dependent on Iranian imports. By summer 2012, EU economies will be fully independent from Iranian crude.

    This embargo is also a message to nations still dealing in Iranian crude, that the destruction of Iran's oil output in case of armed conflict, is becoming a calculable risk to Western economies.

    A little less EU bashing reflex and a little more analysis please.

  • ILIA TOLI

    A little bit off, but I adored a video on Trade Union thugs. I am sure it is worthy your Mighty attention.
    http://spin.despair.com/videos/

  • Rick Moran

    "EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the purpose of the sanctions was "to put pressure on Iran to come back to the negotiating table".

    (William Hague): "It is absolutely right to do this when Iran is continuing to breach United Nations resolutions and refusing to come to meaningful negotiations on its nuclear programme," he added."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16674660

    Mr. Crackerjack misses the point. The goal of the sanctions is to force Iran back to the negotiating table.

    A little less spinning for the EU and a little more logic please.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      The readership misses the point that Rick Moran is a blogger with no foreign policy experience or expertise, writing a bunch of garbage from a house with wood panelling and his family wears Snuggies.

      • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

        For Flipside's experience and expertise click his name and soak up the wisdom-if your ears can take it.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Flippie, Flippie and you are from your kennel, behave……………William

      • ajnn

        Snuggies ? This is confusing. Why are 'snuggies' bad ?

  • crackerjack

    ….let's be logical

    The EU would not start a billion dollar gamble endagering its already fragile economies for the sole perspective of yet another round of endless chatter with Ahmedinejads envoys.

    This is a strategic decision concerning the continents future energy policy that will also have repercussions on the route future gas pipelines such as Nabucco may take.

    Severing vital economic ties of this nature is more than a diplomatic ploy. Europe is preparing for lager conflict.

  • James Saunders-Smith

    EU politicians are sensitive to their citizen’s desire to leave Iran well alone. Majority of Europeans, the media and academia are virulently anti-Israeli and see the spectre of an Iranian nuclear bomb as a good thing. They blame the war in Iran and Afghanistan, 9/11 and numerous Islamic terror attacks around the world squarely on US and the evil Jewish lobby that controls the world.

    Europeans do not believe that the Iranian bomb is meant for them or the US for that matter, only for the annihilation of Jews, so why interfere? Anyway they say, hasn’t Israel got one, or Pakistan or India? So why not Iran?

    Europe is now in the grips of exponentially rising muslim population and anti-Semitism. Here the destruction of this tiny Jewish state cannot come soon enough after which, it is hoped, eternal peace will descend upon humanity.

    European parliament takes these views on board and acts (or not) accordingly.

    • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

      The militant mullahs have unlimited ambitions. Destroying Israel is a step to greater things. Peace descents on humanity when Islam is supereme.

      • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

        descends

    • crackerjack

      Your europhobic disposition is leading your judgement astray.

      The USA, Israel and the EU are allies in this standoff. While Britisch and French warships accompany US carriers through Hormus and EU warships patrol the coasts of Syria and Lebanon, economic heavyweight Germany finances the embargo and provides Israel with second strike submarines.

      Defaming allies as enemys is playing into the hands of the Mullahs.

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    IS IRAN JOINING OBAMA'S REELECTION TEAM?

    The IslamoNazi rulers of Iran are scared sh*tless of Obama losing the election in November and facing a hardline Republican administration next year. Hawkish anti-Iranian statements coming from Gingrich, Romney and Santorum calling for an all out "maximum" covert war to assassinate Iran's nuclear scientists and sabotage its nuclear plants seem to be forcing the mullahs to join the Obama reelection team-to do what they can to keep Obama in power short of giving up their nuclear weapons program.

    continued

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    That's what the letter was about supposedly written by Obama to Iran's Supreme Leader calling for direct talks as reported by Iranian officials. And Obama, it seems, is welcoming with open arms the mullahs' peace offensive, showing them good will by canceling military exercises with Israel and warning Netanyahu not to strike Iran. Subordinating national security to his reelection as Iran uses the ruse of negotiations to further its nuclear and regional ambitions Obama and his incoherent foreign policy will stay its disastrous course and make the world a more dangerous place for democracy and freedom. If US/Iran talks start up, as it looks like they will, they will drag on by design toward Election Day with little or no results-with Obama assuring the electorate that progress is being made to peacefully end Iran's nuclear program; and that a change in administrations could ruin everything and may result in war with those Bush/Cheney warmongering Republicans.

    Click my name to read more.

  • BLJ

    This whole thing is like the movie Groundhog Day. The Iranians are hell bent on getting nukes. Their words and actions say so.

    They are banking on the rest of the world to twiddle their thumbs. The EU talks of sanctions while their continent is being overrun by Muslims. The Iranians only understand one thing and that is force.

    They were crapping their drawers when the U.S. went into Iraq because they thought they were next. Now that we have a woman in the WH they are no longer worried.

  • mrbean

    Now, now let's not het upset, the EU has given them the ultimate punishment by EU standards. The Iranians are now on triple double probation just like detla-delta-delta in "Animal House".

  • Nakba1948

    I suppose you bloodthirsty chickenhawks would rather we simply nuke Tehran tomorrow and get it over with. I would say to let Israel do its own dirty work, but assuming it does, it will inevitably trigger the next world war. Not that this matters to you Zionazis; you'd step on your own mothers in the name of a "Greater Israel." Sad really.

    • BLJ

      Hey Einstein,

      Israel does not want the U.S. to fight it's battles. All it wants is the U.S. not condemn it should they decide to take Iran's nuke operation down. With an Israel hater like Obama in the WH they are not too confident about that happening.

      Those Iranian scumbags have quite a bit of American blood on their hands. The U.S. has had plenty of chances to get some payback militarily against them. We have shown too much restraint and it has just embolden the s.o.b's.

      Take your "bloodthirsty chickenhawks" comment and stick where the sun don't shine.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,Nakba1948,I'd be the first to cheer if the monstrous mullahs in Tehran were overthrown. They're vicious monsters and you're a disgusting human being for siding with them.

  • maria

    Nuclear Iran is threat to not only Western civilization but to sunnits muslim countiries (Saudi Arabia…). But Muslims are cowards and used to use others labor and success, etc). All the world dream that tiny and courageous Israel will make that risky and difficult work for them and then …they will blame Israel if it liberate them from madness of ayatolls. By the way historically Jews were the first victims but very soon all others had the same destiny. Stupid, mean, cynical world which don't want to remember history lessons. The lest one lesson was Munich massacre of Israel's sportsmen in Olimpiada. World kept silllence. And Muslim decided that they have a green light. Then happened 09/11 in US, terracts in London, Paris, Bally (indonasia) and even in Muslims countries (Turkey, …). Wake up people. Stop our country islamization voting for Republicans.