Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sanctions With Bite

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved another round of sanctions against Iran. And according to Counterterrorism blog's Victor Cormas, these sanctions actually may bite.


This today from Counterterrorism Blog concerning the new sanctions just voted out of the UN Security Council in response to Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment:

. . . The measures included in UN Security Council Resolution 1803 appear to go well beyond previous resolutions, and for the first time may actually have some bite.

The new measures reportedly include an unequivocal ban on nuclear and related dual use equipment and technology exports to Iran, as well as the authority to inspect suspect air or sea cargoes destined for Iran. The new resolution also reportedly includes expanded asset freeze measures, and a real travel ban for an expanded list of targeted individuals and entities involved in these targeted activities (as opposed to the "exercise vigilance" over their travel that was contained in previous resolutions). And, it imposes new restrictions on certain export credits for Iran.

Of particular note is a new sanctions provision that calls for increased caution, due diligence and monitoring of dealings with any of Iran's banks. This measure builds on the sanctions measures already adopted with respect to Bank Sepah, and US actions directed against Bank Saderat and Bank Melli, and their branches and subsidiaries based abroad. It also builds on The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) February 28th Statement warning to all financial institutions "to take the risk arising from the deficiencies in Iran's {Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing} regime into account for enhanced due diligence."

The 14 to 0 vote (Indonesia abstaining), and the fact that Libya, Vietnam and South Africa actually voted in favor of the resolution, should bring home to Iran’s leaders that the international community is losing patience and is now increasingly likely to go along with increasingly stern measures to convince Iran to comply. More importantly, Russia and China, for the first time, went beyond mere wrist slapping sanctions, and agreed to impose measures that entail real costs, and dangers, for Iran. Their statements in the Security Council, and their recent actions at the negotiating table with Iran, make it clear that Iran’s leaders can no longer count on them to block additional measures that might be necessary to convince Iran to change course. This development was presaged a few days ago, also, when the signing of the impending China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) deal with Iran to develop the northern Pars gas field was postponed.

Iran's leader should also know that their major trading partners in Europe and Japan are also increasingly committed to take further steps, unilaterally, if necessary, to place increased pressure and sanctions on Iran to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons capability. . . .

Read the entire post. I must admit that I am very surprised. I did not expect either real sanctions or a unanimous vote, sans the one abstaining member. This is very heartening news. Iran has, of course, vowed to ignore the sanctions, but it changes the calculus the theocracy must now consider as it drives ever forward towards a nuclear arsenal.

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