News / Middle East

Analysts: Russia, China Ready to Block New UN Sanctions on Iran

United Nations Security Council (file photo)
United Nations Security Council (file photo)

This week, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency released its toughest report yet on Iran’s nuclear program, saying it appearsTehran has worked on designing an atom bomb. While Russia and China seem to agree there are legitimate concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the two powers appear ready to block any new move to impose additional sanctions in the U.N. Security Council.

The U.N.’s most powerful organ, the 15-member Security Council, has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran from 2006 to 2010. The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency has raised the prospect that Iran’s nuclear file could come back to the Security Council for a possible fifth round of economic, financial or military sanctions.

But Moscow and Beijing have already tried to head off any move in that direction. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the IAEA report as having no new information and warned that it is being used to undermine efforts to reach a political and diplomatic resolution to the issue. While Beijing has repeated its call for dialogue and said sanctions would not resolve the matter.

Analysts say the two powers do not necessarily want to see Iran become a nuclear weapons state, but preventing it is not their top priority.

Matthew Kroenig is the Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. He says Russia and China are less threatened by the thought of a nuclear armed Iran than the United States for several reasons.

“When the United States is thinking of all the things that could go wrong if Iran got nuclear weapons, it is thinking about how it is going to affect its Gulf partners -- whether it is going to have to extend security guarantees to countries like Saudi Arabia; what it means for Israel’s security - a close partner; what it means for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Kroenig said.

But he says Russia and China have a much shorter list of concerns, so they are less willing to take tough measures to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. They also have close economic and trade ties with the Islamic Republic, which is the world’s fourth largest oil producer, and would be wary of jeopardizing those interests.

American University International Politics professor David Bosco says the U.N. Security Council is running out of sanctions options and only the toughest remain - including targeting Iran’s Central Bank or its oil and gas exports.

“We are at the stage where the natural next steps would really be quite coercive steps that could be aimed at crippling Iran’s entire economy and I don’t think Russia and China would go along with that,” Bosco said.

Russia and China did not use their veto power on the previous four rounds of sanctions, but they also used their influence to make sure the sanctions were not as strong as Western powers wanted them to be.

In an effort to avert new measures, Russia is promoting a plan where Iran would cooperate on inspections to alleviate questions about the nature of its nuclear program in return for a gradual lifting of existing sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful and has dismissed the IAEA report as a “fabrication”, calling the agency a “tool” for U.S. political objectives. Iran has also said recently it is willing to return to the negotiating table to settle the matter.

But after several bad experiences with Tehran, is there enough trust in the international community to engage the Iranians in dialogue? Ilan Berman of the conservative Washington research organization, the American Foreign Policy Council, says the time for talk has passed, especially after the latest IAEA report.

“There is a sense that Iran is attempting through all these different measures -- working through China and Russia and also by offering negotiations only to complicate them later down the road -- is trying to run out the clock on its nuclear effort. I think the time for returning to negotiating table with the Iranians has passed. The question is now that we know that the clock is ticking, what are we willing to do to really put the screws to the Iranians?,” Berman said.

The analysts agree that there are unilateral measures the United States and its European partners could take to try to slow Iran’s proliferation progress - such as an economic embargo or sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas exports -- but they say strong, unified action is unlikely soon at the United Nations.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid