Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Testing the Takeyh-Gvosdev Thesis

So, does the news that the permanent five members of the Security Council, via their representatives meeting in Berlin, have come to an agreement about a third sanctions resolution to penalize Iran for its noncompliance on issues relating to its nuclear program, challenge or contradict the assessment Ray Takeyh and I presented in the International Herald Tribune three weeks ago?

I don't think so. First, the sanctions aren't particularly major--some financial freezes and travel bans. Everything I've seen so far is that the third resolution is going to be largely symbolic in import--designed to maintain the facade of unanimity among the great powers. Russia continues to claim that it is supporting the efforts of the international community to resolve the issue.

In the aftermath of last month's NIE, we should expect another report to come out, this time from the GAO, which is going to show that sanctions policies so far have been largely ineffective and that Iran has, since 2003, signed billions of dollars worth in energy contracts. And, perhaps on the heels of Sudan's decision to stop using the dollar and deal with financial institutions with no U.S. ties, Iran may also move in this direction to blunt any further unilaterally-imposed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, Kuwait is moving ahead to resolve its long-standing disputes with Iran over the territorial boundary in the Gulf, which, incidentally, would allow Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia to begin to develop the Dora gas field.

It's all a game. US gets resolution so it can continue to blather on about will of international community; meanwhile Russia provides nuclear fuel and everyone else keeps investing in Iran. Big deal on travel bans; Khamenei doesn't seem to be keen to visit London or Paris or DC anyway.

"meanwhile Russia provides nuclear fuel..."

I know this was announced but is it actually happening?
yes, it is.
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