Political elements top process of sanctioning Iran

By Wang Hui (
Updated: 2010-06-10 17:47
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As expected, the new round of sanctions against Iran, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, was met with strong opposition from the Islamic country. A high-ranking official said Iran would consider "the reduction of cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

This response totally runs counter to the expectations of the international community, which hopes that by imposing fresh sanctions Iran would be forced to succumb to the UN nuclear watchdog eventually. Cooperating with the IAEA was one of the objectives for the new sanctions.

The Iranian official--Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chief of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission -- was quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency as slamming the new sanctions to be "politically motivated,"along with other comments like "unacceptable"and "illegal."The remarks do carry some truth as political elements again top the process of sanctioning Iran.

Rallying international support to sanction against the Islamic country has topped US President Barack Obama's agenda. Since taking office 18 months ago, Obama has been keen on restoring the world's sole super power's international image, which was seriously damaged by the unilateralism of his predecessor.

This year, Washington stepped up its efforts in this regard in pursuit of significant breakthroughs on the diplomatic front. With the US economy yet to completely shake off the shadow of a world financial crisis and under the pressure of high unemployment rate and other social discontent, the Obama administration is eager to reap some fruit in the international arena so as to woo voters in November's mid-term election.

A UN resolution against Iran could kill many birds with one stone. To name just a few: prove that the influence of the only super power is as strong as ever in the international arena; deter a few nations, such as North Korea, that dare to openly challenge Uncle Sam; divert American people's attention away from domestic woes; expand US interests in the Middle East while reducing those of the country's major potential competitors--Russia and China.

Hence, the Obama administration has achieved its political purposes by pushing a UN resolution against Iran.

Whether the resolution could be carried out to the letter will be another question. For one thing, the voting result already lays bare the divide within the UN Security Council. Brazil and Turkey had voted against the resolution.

The two countries apparently felt hurt after they brokered a nuclear fuel swap deal with Tehran last month. The so-called Tehran Declaration marks a significant step in international diplomatic efforts to break the impasse on the Iranian nuclear issue. Although Tehran had pinned high hopes on the deal to fend off new sanctions, the deal does carry a message that Tehran was willing to cooperate with the West. However, Washington did not buy this goodwill and pushed for the UN resolutions anyway. It is understandable, then, that Iran should react so strongly toward the new sanctions.