News / Middle East

Iran Looks East to Bypass Western Sanctions

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 22, 2011.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 22, 2011.
Henry Ridgwell

Years of diplomatic pressure and sanctions from the United Nations and Western powers have so far failed to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program. This week Iran published figures claiming that trade with China has soared in the past year. The U.S. is pressuring China to adhere to the sanctions - but there are growing calls for a change of approach in the West’s dealings with Tehran.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used his moment in the global spotlight at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this month to defend his nuclear program. He once more insisted that it is for civilian purposes and renewed his offer to halt the fuel enrichment program that the West fears is aimed at making nuclear bombs.

“At any time that 20 percent enriched fuel, can be made available to us we will immediately cease domestic production of said fuel. We want no guarantees other than the fuel itself - the actual delivery of the fuel,” Ahmadinejad said.

Tehran's refusal to stop has provoked four rounds of U.N. sanctions and tighter U.S. and European Union restrictions.

Jon Davies of the British Foreign Office says the sanctions haven’t worked.

“As, being frank, that has not achieved the effects we wanted," he noted. "Inevitably, that sanctions pressure has broadened and more elements of it now are designed to change behavior of the leadership of Iran, as opposed to specifically and directly targeting the [nuclear] program itself.”

Peter Jenkins, former British ambassador to the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says it’s time for a new approach - engaging and trading with Iran to build trust. “The West actually needs more Iranian oil, not less," he said. "The policy is also costing Western exporters orders which have gone to Asian competitors.”

China is one Asian competitor that isn’t letting politics interfere with trade. Iran claims trade with the Chinese will hit $45 billion this year, up 50 percent on last year. In May Iran invited China to tour its nuclear facilities - an effort, say analysts, to create a divide in the U.N. Security Council.

Athar Hussain of the London School of Economics, says Asian powers are willing to help Iran bypass Western sanctions.

“Sanctions are always blurred at the edges. Whoever imposes the sanctions, it depends how they interpret the situation," Hussain stated. "China was never an active supporter of the sanctions against Iran. So obviously some things which Western countries would not do with Iran, China might say, ‘Well there’s nothing in it, and we are perfectly free to trade.”

Hussain says American pressure on China to enforce more compliance with the Iranian sanctions will likely be rebuffed. Nevertheless, Britain and other Western powers insist they will continue to tighten economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until it halts the nuclear program.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid