The Global Challenges of Sanctioning Iran

Will Russia and China follow through, and will the new plan be effective?

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In response to Iran's nuclear program, the U.S. is making a final push for tough economic sanctions on the country, which could be voted on by the United Nations Security Council as soon as Wednesday. In May, the U.S. secured the essential support of Russia and China for the sanctions proposal. But the two countries must still follow through by officially approving the sanctions, and questions linger as to the plan's international support and even its potential effectiveness.

  • U.S. Tries to Demonstrate Ongoing Iranian Nuclear Program  The New York Times' David Sanger reports, "the Obama administration is making the case to members of the United Nations Security Council that Iran has revived elements of its program to design nuclear weapons that American intelligence agencies previously concluded had gone dormant. ... It is using new evidence to revise and in some cases reverse conclusions from [the 2007 NIE] estimate, which came to the much disputed conclusion that while Iran had stepped up its production of nuclear fuel, its leadership had suspended its work on the devices and warhead designs needed to actually build a weapon."
  • How Close Is Sanctions Deal?  Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey says the U.S. and the permanent Security Council members "have agreed upon the wording for a new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran. They are pushing for a vote in the UN Security Council as soon as Wednesday, but efforts could stall over new demands by Brazil and Turkey, as well as the list of individuals and companies who will be the subjects of an asset freeze and travel ban. On Tuesday morning, Security Council ambassadors will meet behind closed doors in New York after a request by Brazil and Turkey, who want an open debate on the draft resolution before it is put to a vote."
  • How Iran Evades Sanction  The New York Time's Jo Beckler investigates an Iranian scheme for getting around trade restrictions. The state-owned shipping company Irisl has been disguising its ships as foreign trade vessels, aided by phony paperwork and shell companies, used to buy restricted goods, including military-use technology. She calls the program "a great disappearing act, in which Irisl, under pressure from American and other sanctions, has been obscuring the true ownership of its vessels in a web of shell companies stretching across Europe and Asia, a New York Times examination of Irisl’s actions shows."
  • Who Might Vote No  Politico's Laura Rozen writes, "Twelve votes on the 15-member council have been secured. Unclear as yet is whether Brazil, Turkey and possibly Lebanon will vote against the resolution or abstain. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet with her Brazilian counterpart on the sidelines of an Organization of American States taking place in Peru on the issue."
  • In Turkey, Key Diplomatic Test  The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise writes, "Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran convened at a security summit meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday in a display of regional power that appeared to be calculated to test the United States just days before a scheduled American-backed debate in the United Nations Security Council on imposing tighter sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was to meet separately on Tuesday with the Russian prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, at the conference, a move that is likely to worry the United States, which won the support of both Russia and China for sanctions this month.

Mr. Putin, speaking at the conference, said sanctions should not be “excessive” but gave no details on whether Russia would change its mind on the vote. He called Iran’s nuclear program peaceful, a characterization with which Washington disagrees.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.