Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wheels fall off the sanctions bandwagon

US hawks are circling as enthusiasm for sanctions on Iran fails to materialise either among its neighbours or in China and Russia

Simon Tisdall, Tuesday 29 September 2009

"Despite strong words from Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, there is no sign of a consensus on what additional sanctions should or could be imposed by the international community if Iran continues to ignore concerns about its suspect nuclear programmes. Tehran is meanwhile busy taking pre-emptive measures to mitigate any UN or unilateral punishment, despatching diplomatic missions to China, central Asia and Venezuela and stockpiling petrol and gas in case of winter shortages........

But many profoundly disagree. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Eliot Cohen, a former Bush administration official, said Gates was kidding himself. "A large sanctions effort has been under way against Iran for some time. It has not worked to curb Tehran's nuclear appetite, and it will not," he said. Sanctions were a mere fig-leaf for weak politicians. And since doing nothing was not an option, Washington's only logical alternative was to "actively seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic" by whatever means necessary, barring all-out invasion.

With such dangerously ill-considered threats emanating from the world's only nuclear superpower, little wonder Tehran's own hardliners are circling the wagons. And little wonder Beijing, the new voice of reason, is pleading for calm."

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