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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid