ANALYSIS: Current sanction on Iran could produce nukes

Posted: May 22, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Iran, Israel, Middle East, United Nations
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CURRENT – ‘DILLUTED’ – SANCTIONS ON IRAN ARE UNLIKELY TO STOP PRODUCTION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WITH IRAN AND RUSSIA PLAYING BRILLIANTLY. HOWEVER, NUKES IN HANDS OF AHMADINEJAD COULD EVENTUALLY HARM IRAN, BRING STRONGER SANCTIONS OR EVEN A BLOCKADE.

Nuclear Iran could pose a danger to the Middle East... and to itself. Despite recent prognosis of new sanctions draft against Iran barring sale of advanced weaponry to it, Russians announced they would indeed supply the Mullahs with S-300 anti-aircraft missile system:

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov said the latest sanctions proposal does not pertain to agreements signed with Iran in the past.

"Russia is a responsible supplier to international markets and it has no interest in working towards arming the Middle East," Margelov was quoted as saying by the Novosti and Interfax news agencies. He added that the draft proposal formulated by the five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany is "balanced" and that the sanctions it offers are not "paralyzing."

"We are talking about steps that would be unavoidable should Iran not adhere to international law," he said.

(Ynet)

RUSSIA CERTAINLY USES the loophole well to its advantage: they keep Iran at bay by saying they won’t sell it any new weapons, however, they are already willing to supply much to Ahmadinejad. We still know little of what exactly was signed between Medved and Ahmadinejad, thus it is possible the sales would include not only the S-300 system, but also fighter aircraft (such as the MiG-29) and other types of weaponry.

Russia comes out as a sole winner in this situation – at one hand, the West cannot complain about Russian weapons in Iran’s hands; on the other, Iran gets the package; on the third – Russians get paid in full, thus fueling their own economy, and particularly the defense budget.

Some analysts point out that within days of Brazil-brokered ‘enrichment deal’ with Turkey, Iran, played out its cards well, making few significant gains:

1.   Tough UN sanctions are off the table, leaving individual governments the freedom to proceed, or not, with unilateral penalties against Iran’s nuclear violations.

2.   The heavily-diluted UN draft omits any mention of energy bans, such the refined oil products, a provision formerly advocated by Washington as the most effective means of forcing Iran to abandon its drive for a nuclear weapon.

3.   Not only has the notion of a sea blockade gone by the board, but heavy restrictions are clamped down on searches of vessels suspected of carrying contraband military or nuclear cargoes, for which permission must now be requested by the nation flagged. This allows Iranand Syria to safely import nuclear materials and missiles by sea without fear of interception. Even before the haggling begins, therefore, the new "sanctions" draft before the UN Security Council scarcely answers to its description.

4.   The Obama administration’s inclination to treat the new uranium exchange deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey as the Six-Power Group’s springboard for bringing Tehran back to the negotiating table offers Iran the gift of more time and space to achieve its ultimate objective of a nuclear weapon.

(DebkaFile)

Israeli leaders are probably shocked at the incompetence and stark pacifism of the international community. While nobody wants war, it is clearly understood that the current sanctions draft will lead nowhere, as it basically leaves in Iran in its current position for at least several years.

Iran’s strategy could be in the wrong, however. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to create a nuclear weapon as soon as possible, in order to control as much of Middle East as possible. Then, Ahmadinejad believes, Iran would could and it would be impossible to simply impose sanctions on it. He could be wrong, however. True, Iran is no North Korea, but it could be close. While uncertain, the international community would be much more inclined to impose tough sanctions on Iran when it realizes its nuclear potential. While a blockade would always be the last resort of the pacifist United Nations, nuclear Iran would cause much worry for surrounding states, thus giving sanctions a few more votes in the Security Council. While Russia or China could indeed veto such decision, they would be unlikely to do so, as their current rhetoric allows them to waste time until Iran finishes its nuclear research, but not much after it does.

Nuclear Iran certainly would start a new era in the Middle East. Radical Islamists African countries are likely to flock to it for protection and military supply, which Iran would gladly provide (unless a blockade is indeed imposed). Few more entities, such as Syria, Gaza’s Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah would make bolder steps, bluntly confronting Israel, even militarily – feeling Iran’s protective backing. On the other hand, Iran’s enemies – such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, are likely to make bolder steps on their side against Iran-aligned elements within their societies. Thus – if he makes it, that is – Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak would instruct his forces to up the stakes in fight against radical Muslim Brotherhood, and would take further steps to lock down Gaza. Jordan, knowing it is vulnerable, would likely keep any anti-Iran operation under covers, and would likely request help from either of its neighbors – even Israel, although that would be accepted covertly and in a limited fashion.

Overall, nuclear Iran certainly would alter Middle East’s inner workings. However, it is quite possible the altercation would not be good for Iran, as its only option could be aligning itself with even poorer nations, who can do little to further Iran’s goals on international arena.

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