UN slaps Iran’s wrist

The UN Security Council has voted to place new economic sanctions on Iran:

The new draft UN resolution bans all Iranian arms exports, freezes the overseas assets of 28 additional officials and institutions linked to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including senior officers of the Elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and the state-owned Bank Sepah, and restricts financial aid or loans to Tehran.

It gives Iran 60 days to comply with the repeated UN demands or face “further appropriate measures” — economic sanctions but no military action — under Article 41 of the UN Charter…

The text builds on the December sanctions which included a ban on the sale of nuclear and ballistic missile-related materials to Iran, foreign travel restrictions on Iranians involved in sensitive atomic and ballistic missile work and a freeze on their overseas assets.– YNet

The resolution was passed unanimously today.

The problem is that in order for sanctions to be effective, they must make it more advantageous for Iran to stop her nuclear program than to continue it. And if the Iranian leadership feels that the strategic advantage of possession of nuclear weapons is great enough to risk an attack by the US or Israel, then relatively mild sanctions will not be effective.

The UN should apply sanctions that will be felt throughout the Iranian economy, and not just on the nuclear program. This might put enough pressure on the government to at least temporarily halt the program, or it might result in a change in government, one hopes to one which will have a different evaluation of the risks and benefits that come with Iran’s becoming a nuclear power.

As I wrote yesterday (see “Iran: we’re serious“), these risks are great, both for Iran and the rest of the world.

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