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Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

Ship Seized On Its Way to Iran

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment

The United Arab Emirates seized a cargo ship bound for Iran with a cache of banned weaponry. The UAE, which is a hub for Iranian goods, reported the find in a confidential letter to the council’s sanctions committee for North Korea.

Although the ship contained rockets rather than nukes, the discovery does not bode well for the international reputation of either North Korea or Iran.

North Korea has only recently developed a more conciliatory stance towards South Korea and the U.S., the Associated Press reports, and Iran has only just begun to produce nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has increased U.N. access to its main nuclear complex in Natanz and Arak.

Still,  contention between Iran and the U.S. rages.

Iran’s chief representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the AP, “America alleges that Iran has a Manhattan Project” to build a bomb, Soltanieh said. “This is ridiculous. This game is enough. It should be over. … We have tried to take a very logical and pragmatic approach.”

The fate of a nuclear Iran will be decided after September 2nd during a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board. President Obama has said that sanctions will be tightened if Iran does not stop enriching uranium. However, if Iran does end it’s nuclear program, Obama has promised trade and commercial benefits.

It is doubtful whether an economically-based ultimatum can address an issue that is largely ideological. Can commerce and trade substitute national (and regional) pride? That remains to be seen, but it is just as unlikely that Iran can bear the weight of the “severe” sanctions that Europe hopes to put forth after September 2nd.

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10
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Israel Elbows US as Iran Does Things the Hard Way

The Obama administration has always preferred bilateral diplomacy, but the administration is tightening its breeches.  Iran continues to advance its nuclear program and its post-election crackdown, including its prosecution of citizens who cooperate with satellite news programs.

In recent weeks, President Obama has threatened American companies that service the Iranian government¬† and rescinded invitations to Independence Day celebrations from Iranian diplomats. Now, according to Haa’retz, Israel is pushing its superpower allies to take on a more forceful Plan B.

According to the rationale of Israeli senior officials, the unrest in Iran permits “harsher steps” in the form of stiffer sanctions.

Israel has also been communicating with Germany, France, Russia and Japan on Washington’s persistence with the current path and on securing a military appendix to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran.

The news follows London’s Sunday Times allegations that Saudi Arabia will allow Israel to use its airspace in military assault against Iran and American vice president Joe Biden said that military action against Iran is within Israel’s right as a sovereign power.

Ha’aretz reports,

In an interview with ABC television, Biden said: “Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else. Whether we agree or not. They’re entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that.”

Biden insisted that pressure from Israel or other countries would not affect American’s planned dialogue with Iran. “There is no pressure from any nation that is going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed,” he said, adding that Washington believes this dialogue serves America’s interests, as well as those of Israel and the rest of the world.

Biden’s sentiment was only slightly undercut by President Obama’s insistence Tuesday that Israel does not have a green light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Jerusalem Post reports,

The president said that Biden had simply been stating the “categorical fact” that “we can’t dictate to other countries what their security interests are. What is also true is that it is the policy of the United States to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities in a peaceful way through diplomatic channels,” he said.

Nevertheless, the IDF has taken into consideration the possibility that it will not receive US permission to fly over Iraq on the way to Iran, and has drawn up an operational plan for this contingency. While its preference is to coordinate with the US, defense officials have said in the past that Israel was preparing a wide range of options for such an operation.

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10