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Iran Lashes out at ‘Ineffective’ Sanctions

Posted on the 22 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Iran lashes out at ‘ineffective’ sanctions imposed by US, Britain, France and Canada

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, increasinlgy isolated? Photo credit: Daniella Zalcman

Iran is lashing out against the “reprehensible and ineffective” sanctions being levied at its financial and petrochemical sectors by the US, Britain and Canada, as punishment for the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

The US on Monday named Iran’s central bank a “primary money laundering concern”, a move that while not a formal sanction, will impact its operations by forcing other nations and companies to sever ties with it; Washington also announced sanctions on companies it accused of supporting Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Britain and Canada have cut all ties to Iranian banks, and France is recommending an immediate international freeze of the central bank’s assets. The moves represent a ratcheting up of pressure on Iran – but outside the UN Security Council, after opposition from Russia and China derailed plans for what would be a fifth round of UN sanctions.

Theses sanctions come on the heels of a report published on November 8 by UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, strongly suggesting that Tehran was not only pursuing a nuclear weapon, a claim that Iran has long denied, but is also very close to achieving it. US President Barack Obama, in a written statement regarding the sanctions, made it clear that they are intended to “isolate and penalize Iran for its refusal to live up to its international obligations regarding its nuclear program”.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced additional sanctions against Iran:

Won’t work, says Iran. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast blasted the sanctions, claiming during his weekly press briefing, “These actions show the hostility of these countries towards our people.” Moreover, they won’t work, he said – Iran has significantly reduced its trade with the US and Britain in particular over the last few years, and turned inwards to boost its domestic economy. “These sanctions are futile repetitious efforts which will not affect Iran’s economy,” Mehmanparast said, according to Israeli daily, Ha’aretz. “Such illogical, intimidating moves are propaganda and psychological war which however will not change our nation’s will but just make us more united,” he added.

Sanctions do work, says White House. In a fact sheet on the US’s campaign of sanctions against Iran, the White House claimed that past sanctions have slowed the Iranian nuclear program, hindered investment in Iran’s oil and gas sector, and has even “exposed” Iran’s support of known terrorist organizations.

Sanctions do work – but they hurt West, too, says Iran. In a departure from Iran’s usual claims that sanctions will only make the Islamic Republic stronger, Minister of Industry, Mine and Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari acknowledged that sanctions do hurt the Iranian economy – but they also hurt the US. “Sanctions are a lose-lose game in which both side make a loss. If they don’t invest in our oil projects, they will lose an appealing market,” Ghazanfari told a news conference, according to Reuters.

Sanctions unacceptable, says Russia. Russia’s Foreign Ministry denounced the sanctions almost immediately, claiming that the moves were “unacceptable”, counter to efforts to resolve the problem diplomatically, and even in violation of international law. Such a practice seriously obstructs advancement toward a constructive dialog with Tehran,” Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters, according to RussiaToday. “Stronger sanction pressure, which some of our partners see almost as a goal in itself, will not encourage Iran to sit down at the negotiating table.”

Iran is on drugs: Foreign Policy investigates the Islamic Republic’s problem with the poppy.

Attitude adjustment. Tehran declared that it would be willing to cooperate with the IAEA if the watchdog would just change its attitude towards the Islamic Republic. According to The Tehran Times, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the agency made a “mistake” in publishing its report on Iran’s nuclear program, that it did so under pressure from the West, and that the documents it published were false.

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