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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs