No Intention Seen to Sanction Iran
The United States put forward many considerable pledges as the nuclear pact was sealed with Iran, and we have recently realized another such promise has been hollow. Implementing sanctions against Iran is bent on the consent of Russia and China, parties who seek vast economic interests with the mullahs’ in Tehran. As a result, there is no will or intention seen to sanction Iran any time soon.
This lesson was learned when Moscow refused to join Washington in pressuring for new sanctions against Iran due to recent ballistic missile tests. Tehran launched two 1-ton payload capacity missiles in early March with a near range of around 2,000 kilometers, easily sufficient to carry a nuclear warhead. This is a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, approved last year in regards to the nuclear deal. Signs of lack of intention were seen even back then as the resolution merely “called upon” Iran to refrain from building and test-firing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads for a period of 8 years.
Obvious is the fact that the Tehran regime top brass never actually had any desire to honor the resolution. Moscow – currently in extensive talks to sell Iran nearly $8 billion worth of advanced weaponry which Tehran may end up sending an extensive bulk to Assad in Syria – is not interested in any measures upsetting this process. “A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call,” Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., conveniently argued recently. Russia enjoys veto power in the U.N. Security Council, making any Washington cajoling useless.
Remember Washington promising no need to have Moscow onboard to reinstall sanctions in case Tehran cheats? Remember “snapback sanctions” as a main slogan used to win over many Democrats in the U.S. during the grueling 2015 congressional debates? Remember “unprecedented verification” that merely rendered a short, one-time visit for U.N. inspectors to a very suspicious military site at Parchin with Iran’s own men taking crucially important soil samples?
The question that comes to mind is can the next U.S. President truly walk away from a deal Iran already refuses to honor, and Washington is unable to enforce? The truth is years are now need to restore a meaningful global sanctions regime that will fall far short of anything resembling the pre-deal circumstances. In the meantime, rest assured Iran will not maintain its nuclear and missile programs frozen.
Follow Pejman at @pj_arad