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

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused 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.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid