Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the recently passed U.N. backed sanctions against his country as worthless, stating they should be “thrown into the trash bin like a used tissue.” Regrettably, the caustic Iranian leader may be correct.
Few clear thinking observers expected the U.N. Security Council to enact any biting sanctions against Iran. Twelve of the fifteen members of the council agreed on the regime of watered-down sanctions. Turkey and Brazil voted against while Lebanon abstained.
The underlying concern facing any attempt by the U.N. in developing a series of effective sanctions against Iran is an inherent incompatibility of priorities among the Security Council members. This reality was evident as the desired sanctions sought by the United States were continually watered down throughout negotiations with other members of the Security Council. What resulted was a series of tepid restrictions designed to inhibit Iran’s weapons, shipping, finance, and asset interests.
The efficacy with which these punishments will hinder Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is dubious at best. What has became immediately evident is that the continued difference of priorities among those nations “cooperating” on sanctions against Iran has already undermined their potency.
Countering a report that cited the Russian cancellation of an unfulfilled deal to send S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko indicated that the recently passed U.N. sanctions would not preclude such a transaction.
This does not bode well for those who desire to see Iran’s military and economic endeavors restricted through the actions of the United Nations.
Ultimately, the current Iranian regime, motivated by an unwavering hatred toward the United States and Israel, will continue to see the benefits of obtaining a nuclear deterrent as far outweighing the costs associated to any regime of U.N. backed sanctions. This reality, coupled with the deficient nature of the aforementioned sanctions regime itself, will not slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
Ahmadinejad was not moved by the U.N.’s declarations and he was not shy about saying so. At some point the Obama administration needs to acknowledge the limitations of its diplomatic engagement with Iran and accept that Iran views its ascendance to the status of a nuclear state as requisite to its achieving regional hegemony.