Will Sanctions Work on Iran
Iran is slowly inching towards its dream of having its own nuclear weapons, but will it succeed?
The November 2011 IAEA report has been the talk of the town right now. More than the entire report, there is a specific focus which the world is worried about and that is the acquiring of nuclear weapons by Iran.
The international community hasn’t been taking the Iranian problem lying down. With already so many countries having nuclear weapons, nations are trying to dissuade each other from acquiring one. Iran is no different.
For Iran, the need to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into its hands is much more urgent and more desperate. Had it been another country like Turkey or Brazil, it wouldn’t have been such a big problem. But Iran is a totally different case and it requires a lot of attention.
Since the establishment of the Islamic republic in 1979, they have been trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons in order to subdue their enemies or potential enemies. The biggest target is Israel. Every year, you find televised broadcasts and speeches of clerics and leaders denouncing Israel and why it is supposed to be removed from the map. Iran has clearly mentioned that they will use any weapon available in their arsenals to ‘wipe off the zionist entity called Israel’. The world is already worried about the development of long-range missiles by Iran.
Not to mention that Iran is already trying everything in its power to subdue Israel and possibly dislodge it from the middle east. The Al-Quds Force as a part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has openly funded and supported terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas by giving them money and weapons including rockets and mortars, all routed through countries like Syria and Egypt through various clandestine methods. So we already know that Iran is not bluffing when it says that it will do anything in its power in order to destroy Israel.
Now in order to prevent Iran from further enhancing its nuclear program, the international community has tried a variety of measures like discussion, diplomacy, offers to enrich uranium to fuel its energy sector and finally, sanctions.
A wide range of sanctions has been imposed through the United Nations and even more has been imposed by the United States. The aim of the sanctions has been to put strain on the Iranian economy in order to persuade its leadership to give up its nuclear ambitions and use the money for the welfare of the Iranian people.
The sanctions include, restrictions on technology transfer to Iran, restrictions on investment, blacklisting banks like Bank Saderat Iran, additional sanctions on multinational companies investing in Iran and setting up operations there, sanctions on export of Gasoline to Iran and a variety of other sanctions.
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
This has had an impact on the Iranian economy no doubt. Perhaps the biggest problem is the Gasoline. Iran imports over 40% its gasoline from other countries due to its lack of refining infrastructure which came about due to the sanctions. As a result, the Iranian economy is gripped with inflation and shortages. It has hurt the common man in Iran, but it hasn’t made that much of an impact on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Here is why
First of all, while the international community doesn’t support the nuclear program, Russia and China don’t oppose it and they possess the necessary clout in the United Nations and other bodies to somehow minimize the punishment on Iran. Though the current sanctions is quite strong, it is not so strong that it would crush the Iranian economy. This is because Russia and China opposed stronger sanctions on the pretext that it would hurt the common Iranian citizen the most. Russia has a lot of investment in the nuclear program and they will somehow oppose any sanctions on Iran, which is also why Russia has at many instances defied sanctions and helped Iran.
Secondly, even if many countries don’t buy Iranian crude oil, China will definitely do so in order to fuel its own economy. China buys oil in real huge quantities and nothing is going to stop them from purchasing it from Iran. While they may comply with regulations against building refineries in Iran, they can still get it refined elsewhere. So Iran will have sufficient money in order to float.
Thirdly, Iran is not a democracy. It is headed by the head cleric or an Ayatollah. They have a Supreme Council of clerics from all over Iran which is consulted before any decision takes place. Many Iranians oppose the rule of the Ayatollahs in Iran and it is not truly in the wishes of the people. Though the common people of Iran feel the pinch of the economic crisis at home, the Ayatollahs are near oblivious and therefore would want to go ahead with the nuclear program.
Lastly, they harbour deep resentment for the west and especially the United States. Iranians believe that the United States has always been controlling them and meddling in their affairs for too long. They felt that when they ousted the Shah and they feel the same way when US has imposed sanctions on them. This argument is used and manipulated by Ayatollahs to gain support for the nuclear program amongst the Iranian people. At the end, they are ready to feel the pinch and get their nuclear bomb to show the US that nobody would dictate affairs to Iran.
For all these reasons, the sanctions may not work effectively and Iran’s nuclear program may continue.
Copyright © 2011 Ashwath Komath