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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs