Iran Sanctions Will Backfire on EU

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hassan Beheshtipour

Failed on a specific plan to resolve the problems from the financial crises in the Oct. 23 Brussels summit, European leaders issued a statement against Iran.

The statement warns of tougher sanctions, should Tehran fail to address the “existing concerns” over its nuclear program.

It, however, offered no responses for the unanswered questions hovering in the minds of many European Union citizens including:

1. Why should the EU, in the current woeful economic conditions, forgo, ever more than before, its share of exports to the lucrative markets of Iran? Just to please Israel and slavishly follow US policies?

2. Is the European Union really subject to a nuclear threat from Iran?

3. Have the expansive sanctions over the past eight years succeeded in deterring Iran's nuclear program?

4. Wouldn't continuing the current trend of sanctions more than ever leave Iran's market open to the Russians and Chinese?

The heads of the 27 EU member states in their statement called on Iran to engage in constructive and fundamental negotiations with the West to resolve its nuclear issue through dialogue, which would in turn avert potential future restrictive measures. All the while, they called for readiness to impose further sanctions against Iran.

“[The sanctions] will be implemented at the appropriate moment in case Iran does not cooperate seriously, nor meets its obligations,” the statement read.

This comes as Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili wrote a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton on September 6 to which she only responded after 43 days on October 21.

The EU leaders are in fact ignoring the reality that Ashton overlooked Iran's call for the resumption of negotiations for more than 40 days and handed a response to Iran's embassy in Brussels only three days before the EU summit statement was issued.

Jalili had clearly pronounced Iran's readiness for negotiations in its September 6 letter.

“Iran is committed to a solution being found through dialogue and is prepared, within the strategic framework of negotiating for cooperation around common points, to negotiate on a set of issues such as the nuclear issue in general including disarmament, non-proliferation, and cooperation,” Jalili said in his letter.

The EU leaders should hold Ashton to account for waiting more than 40 days to respond to Iran's readiness for negotiations. From the analysts' perspective, the EU leaders know very well that the chief director of this narrative is neither in Brussels nor in Washington, but in Tel Aviv.

US Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen intends to gain the full support of the Europeans to intensify the sanctions against Iran's Central Bank, Iran's airlines, and the Iranian marine transportation companies. One US State Department senior official has announced that the US plans to ratchet up sanctions on Iran precede the pronouncement of Obama's decision to withdraw US troops from Iraq until the end of 2011.

The US diplomacy, like a diesel-fueled locomotive, is dragging the anti-Iran sanctions train along with additional support from London, Paris, and Berlin. Washington aims to convince its allies to mount pressure on Iran in the absence of accurate analysis of the consequences of those sanctions.

Periodical reports published by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) clearly prove that Iran is going on with its peaceful nuclear activities under the supervision of the IAEA, regardless of the West's propaganda racket. Iran has been able thus far to continue its uranium enrichment activities which aim to make the country self-sufficient in nuclear technology. Sanctions have not only failed to stop that process, but have accelerated it as a result of the indigenization of the nuclear technology in Iran.

Pressure from the US and the European Union has already led to the adoption of four sanctions resolutions by the UN against Iran. Moreover, unilateral sanctions enforced by Washington and the EU have discouraged investment in Iran's oil and gas sector by Western countries. Transfer of money from and to Iran has been also made more difficult as a result of those measures.

The pressure generated by these measures, however, has been actually felt by the ordinary people and their businesses; that is, the same people that the United States claimed would be spared of the consequences of the West's “smart sanctions” policy. However, European and American sanctions which go well beyond the mandate of the Security Council, have even caused problems for Iran's passenger planes by withholding fuel at destination airports. As a result, thousands of hours of passengers' time have been wasted and hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra costs have been imposed on the Iranian and non-Iranian passengers without them knowing why they should lose so much time and money.

Seeing sanctions as ineffective, the US has put more pressure on IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to renew emphasis on the so-called “alleged studies” in his forthcoming December report. This will lead to announcement by Amano that Iran's nuclear program pursues military objectives. Although Russia and China have vehemently protested the issue, Washington is still urging its EU allies to provide the needed atmosphere for more pressure on Iran in these three fronts:

1) Alleging that Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb;

2) Charging Iran with involvement in terrorist activities (the latest example of which was the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to Washington);

3) Incriminating Tehran with widespread and organized violation of human rights (the last instance of which was reflected in the UN special human rights rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed's report to the Human Rights Council).

The United States is now calling for sanctions against Iran's Central Bank as an extension of that policy. By sanctioning the Central Bank of Iran, they want to make it even more difficult for Iran to receive money for its exports. When it comes to Iran's oil exports, this will cause major problems for the sensitive global energy market because the country is the world's fifth biggest exporter of crude oil. However, any new measure by the UN Security Council should be endorsed by Russia and China as permanent members of the Council. Although Russia and China have lent their backing to previous sanctions against Iran, it will be more difficult to convince them to take stricter positions on the basis of current anti-Iran charges.

EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has written in her letter to Iran's secretary of Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, that if Iran is ready to take confidence building measures with no preconditions, the P5+1 would be ready to resume negotiations in a few weeks. Iran has emphasized that it considers no preconditions and what Tehran asks for is only the logical requirements of “dialogue for cooperation around common points” agenda. Due to this difference, which proves noncompliance of the P5+1 with the agenda on which both sides agreed in Geneva 3 talks, negotiations with Iran have been halted since last January.


Europe faces no threats from Tehran. It would only lose its export market to Iran at a time of serious economic difficulties through maintaining the intensified US and Israeli engineered sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, EU's main rivals, Russia and China, are gaining increasing ground in Iran's economy. EU's wrong decision to follow suit with Washington's policies has not been able to undermine Iran's peaceful nuclear program. On the contrary, the country has accelerated its march toward self-sufficiency in producing the nuclear energy.

Source: Press TV

More By Hassan Beheshtipour:

*“Cooperation and Negotiation” Versus “Pressure and Negotiation”:“Cooperation_and_Negotiation”_Versus_“Pressure_and_Negotiation”.htm

*Russian Initiative for Final Settlement of Iran’s Nuclear Case:

*SCO, A Springboard for Iran: