Left: Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov, courtesy AP.com
(Moscow) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov rejected - for the moment - the US-led movement for sanctions against Iran for the country's nuclear enrichment program.
"I know of no instances in world practice and previous experience in which sanctions have achieved their aim and proved effective," he told reporters today. "Moreover, I believe that the question is not so serious at the moment for the UN Security Council or the group of six to consider any introduction of sanctions. Russia stands for further political and diplomatic efforts to settle the issue."
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on July 31 calling for Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program within 30 days or risk international sanctions. Iran formally rejected a proposed package of incentives for compliance with the resolution on August 22, and instead called for more diplomacy.
The Russian move, while not unexpected, dimishes the ability of the US to build consensus for immediate sanctions against Iran. Both Russia and China have expressed a disinclination to push for sanctions as formal policy, and both powers have significant energy and investment ties with Iran; as such, both nations would be likely to veto any call for sanctions in the Security Council.
The US would then be faced with the prospect of introducing such a motion before the Security Council, knowing in advance that it would be doomed to failure. Such a move would further weaken the international reputation of the United States, already at a low point with the ineffectiveness of the war in Iraq and what is seen as tacit US approval for the Israeli campaign in Lebanon.