Yet again the UN Security Council, under US government coercion and lobbying, has voted for a fresh round of sanctions on Iran.
Whilst the US was forced to dilute some of its toughest measures to ensure permanent members Russia and China were on board to push the sanctions through, the consequence of the resolution is nonetheless hugely destructive and again confirms the Obama administration’s commitment to pursuing a belligerent course with Iran in accordance with that of the Bush years.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil and Turkey voted against the resolution, after the important agreement they had brokered with Iran had been rubbished by Western powers without any consideration.
Last month’s deal, which required Iran to deposit 1,200kg of low enriched uranium (LEU) in exchange for fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor was significant but for two reasons in particular. Firstly, it allowed Iran the assurance that if it kept to its part of the bargain the other end of the deal would be met (hence why Iran rejected an almost identical Western proposal back in October).
More importantly, it would give confidence to the United States government of Iran’s co-operation. This is why it was President Obama himself, who in a letter to Lula back in April, had requested precisely such an agreement:
“For us, Iran’s agreement to transfer 1,200 kg of Iran’s low enriched uranium (LEU) out of the country would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s LEU stockpile. I want to underscore that this element is of fundamental importance for the United States. For Iran, it would receive the nuclear fuel requested to ensure continued operation of the TRR to produce needed medical isotopes and, by using its own material, Iran would begin to demonstrate peaceful nuclear intent.”
But no less that 24 hours after the deal was brokered, the US and its allies pooh-poohed it announcing the new draft of UN sanctions that has been ratified today blacklisting Iranian companies and banks.
What this clearly indicates is how the US administration, far from looking for a peaceful solution, is instead determined on escalating a crisis that could end up ultimately in another war. Because far from curtailing an Iranian nuclear programme, these sanctions are nothing but an attempt at further isolating Iran and antagonising any opportunity for a peaceful settlement to the crisis.
That this happens in the same month that Israel’s illegal stockpile is confirmed is of the highest hypocrisy. That it happens in the week following the Israeli murder of Turkish humanitarian activists on the Free Gaza Flotilla is simply sickening.
Of course for Israel the timing of these sanctions couldn’t have come at a better time. Unfortunately, for Iranian democracy activists – who are gearing up for the anniversary of last’s year election fall-out – the timing couldn’t have been any worse. Because now any attempts for them to utilize the one year anniversary of the election result as an opportunity to re-energise the movement (having suffered severe setbacks as a consequence of a heavy government crackdown) will be put to bed as right-wing elements use the sanctions as a stick to beat them with. With the movement at such a critical stage, and the imprisonment and repression of so many activists, the announcement of these sanctions will be a detrimental blow. Not least because those at the brunt of it economically will not be the rich but, as always, the poorest and the most vulnerable.
So it’s imperative now, more than ever, that we show our support with the movement on Saturday June 12th by campaigning against these harmful sanctions and continued western interference, as we raise a fist in solidarity.