Toothless Sanctions on Iran, Part 47
One area the resolution has been successful in is compelling Russia to not deliver the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran, which would severely complicate any aerial attack. There was originally much confusion about this -- it was reported that Russians had agreed not to sell the S-300, but then the foreign minister said that the sanctions did not apply to the system.
This position has been reversed. An anonymous Kremlin official has said that the sanctions do apply to the S-300, and Prime Minister Putin has reportedly told French President Sarkozy that the sale has been frozen. This appears to be an accurate report, as the Iranian regime is furious, saying Russia is required by contract to deliver the S-300, which would make Iran “invincible” to an Israeli attack. Timmerman says:
Russia went along because these sanctions came at no cost to Russia. Without serious multilateral efforts to craft an effective cargo inspection regime, or to curtail investment and supplies to Iran’s oil and gas industry, Iran will be a nuclear power by the end of the year.
Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a former KGB officer, told PJM that he doesn’t believe the sanctions will stop further cooperation between Russia and Iran:
These sanctions seem to be aimed at deceiving America and not at damaging Iran at all.
Russia may have felt that freezing the delivery of the S-300 was a worthy concession in return for winning immunity from further U.S. sanctions aimed at Iran. Congress is moving forward on placing tougher sanctions on Iran, aware that the latest round of UN measures is inadequate. However, President Obama wants a stipulation: he wants the authority to block sanctions on entities in foreign countries that have cooperated in pressuring Iran, which would certainly exempt Russia from suffering.
Already, the Russians may be preparing to come to Iran’s rescue. The European Union has hit Iran with its own sanctions, banning companies from becoming involved in their oil and gas industries, and they are working on new sanctions targeting the Revolutionary Guard. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, and Australia will soon follow suit. Russia has reacted by saying they are “extremely disappointed,” and will reassess “work in these formats.”
The Obama administration knows that the current sanctions will fail to stop a nuclear-armed Iran from becoming a reality. They have drafted a Plan B, C, and D, which include covert operations aimed at promoting the defection of Iranian scientists and a containment strategy. Noticeably absent is the most bold but efficient option of vigorously supporting the Iranian opposition.
The Obama administration still does not believe that regime change is a viable solution, and that, more than any other reason, is why Iran will have a nuclear arsenal or the ability to quickly create one in the near future.
This article was sponsored by Stand Up America.