Sanctions for Teheran are no Solution

Only diplomacy can succeed with Teheran

The Iranian nuclear issue has again come into sharp focus with the imposition of fresh sanctions, for the third time, against Teheran. Iran is being punished for its refusal to cap its nuclear programme, suspected by the international community (read the US and its European allies) as being aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction. Iran’s claim that its nuclear enrichment activity is only meant to generate power has not been found convincing. The US and its allies want nothing less than freezing of the controversial project. With a view to putting more pressure on Teheran, Britain and France, backed by the US, moved a fresh resolution in the UN Security Council which was adopted on Monday with all of its 15 members — with the lone exception of Indonesia — voting in favour of it. The sanctions — travel bans, freezing of assets of people associated with the nuclear programme and monitoring of Iranian financial institutions — may further escalate the crisis rather than helping in getting it defused.

Significantly, the five permanent Security Council members have demonstrated unanimity on the issue for the first time. But this has come about as a face-saving exercise. Russia and China, which have been opposed to the use of coercive tactics, agreed to go along with the US, Britain and France only after the resolution on Iran was diluted considerably. Russia and China, which have their own economic interests to protect in Iran, reportedly adopted the new approach to prevent the issue from getting more complicated.

The way the provision of imposing Security Council’s sanctions is being used may further erode the credibility of the world body, which has already suffered much damage in the context of Iraq. Sanctions are unlikely to help find a solution to the Iranian crisis. The US cannot think of the military option also today because of its experience in Iraq and the recent disclosure of its own intelligence agencies on the Iranian nuclear programme — that it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Even the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the issue has presented a mixed picture. With Iran cooperating with the IAEA in the latter’s efforts to establish the truth, the use of diplomacy appears to be the right course to end the crisis.

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