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News number: 9106240320

10:44 | 2012-09-16


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Commentary:

Iran Sanctions War or Western Drift toward Isolation?

TEHRAN (FNA)- Western powers are once again mandating a new raft of unilateral sanctions against Iran over its legal refusal to halt its civilian nuclear fuel work under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it has been signatory for decades.



The latest round of EU sanctions, implemented in July, already ban oil imports from Iran and doing business with its banking sector. So it is unclear what additional measures the bloc could impose that would have a harder impact - if any! Until now, France, Germany and Britain (with already precarious economies) have stopped short of listing their new targets.

To continue selling crude oil to its No. 1 customers in Asia, and many others across the globe, Iran is delivering the oil on its own tankers backed by state insurance, not on the commercial tankers used in the past.

Therefore, despite what the Obama administration calls "some of the toughest economic sanctions ever imposed," Tehran is finding legal ways to sell oil to its most important markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These new deals could be a bit expensive, time-consuming and risky. But experts say they are working. The disappointment for Washington has been so evident that it has forced Israel's frustrated leaders to accuse the West of "not doing enough" over Tehran.

The latest letdown has a unique set of attributes, though: After the imposition of not so successful oil and banking sanctions, Washington is trying to take advantage of the unbalanced situation in the new world order with the help of Israeli lobbies and special interest groups so it could impose its anti-Iran position on the rest of the international community, especially those at the United Nations and the Non-Alignment Movement.

Likewise, Britain, France and Germany have stepped up efforts in Europe and the countries of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to create a hostile atmosphere toward Iran. In both cases the parties are getting conflicting results. For instance, Russia and China have made it absolutely clear that they are against Western unilateral sanctions, calling for more talks with Tehran instead. Russia is so serious about its position that its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow will not bargain over its cooperation with Iran at its first nuclear power station at Bushehr.

Mixed in with the opposition of Moscow, Beijing and the Non-Aligned Movement, plus their emphasis on continuation of talks, it's clear that it is the Western front (and not Iran) that is drifting toward isolation from the international community. Into the bargain, with Iran's successful diplomatic move to get at least 120 countries on board to support its civilian nuclear program at the 16th Non-Alignment Movement Summit in Tehran, it is unlikely the West will ever be able to reverse this emerging new world order through diplomatic channels.

That explains why many Western analysts agree that "the US foreign policy is in shatters," as it has been since the problems encountered by the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan exposed the limits of Washington's military and diplomatic power. Consequently, the new developments which largely favor Tehran's legal position under international law, "cannot just be a short-lived disappointment or defeat for the US and allies," as declared by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

According to the Iranian Leader, the days in which the neoconservatives used to proceed on the premise that Washington was capable through its own military power and support from the "coalition of the willing" to remake the world into a system of market democracies in which the US would function as the protector and the prime beneficiary, are long gone.

It's also a point well taken by many Western analysts. For instance, Richard Haass, one of America's leading foreign policy specialists, recently pronounced that: "The American era in the Middle East has ended and it will take years if not decades for Washington to once again recover its unprecedented influence and freedom to act in the oil-rich region."

In the new world order, the Obama administration in general, and its cheerleaders (Britain, France and Germany) in particular, look deeply unpopular and isolated, even an object of loathing in many quarters, including the Western publics.

In the wake of the botched campaign to isolate Iran (or topple its regional ally Syria), there is now a visible partition at the United Nations, which is being directed automatically toward a point so undesirable to the American and EU leaders: A point entitled "The Western Front's Drift Toward Isolation".

At this point, Russia, China, India, Brazil and at least 120 nations of the non-aligned bloc have realized that the West is not just imposing sanctions on Iran, it is also threatening the global economy. That explains why they have come out opposing the Iran sanctions war, distancing themselves from the West and its old ideas of world domination. They are equally united and willing to find a just and diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear dossier and many other vital issues related to war and peace, human rights, the financial crisis, and more.