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A Victory or Setback for Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In spite of the many threats directed at the Iranian regime over the past seven years of nuclear conflict, this is the first time that it is officially punished. The previous sanctions were imposed by the United States and were not supported by the rest of world countries. Today, this is the first international legal breakthrough against Tehran.

But in spite of the great celebration in New York, I think that the sanctions are not only of little impact, but they are very beneficial to the Iranian regime, contrary to what is said. As for their limited impact, Iran is one of the world countries with the most experience in the economic sanctions since everything that it exports to, or imports from the United States have been banned since the revolution in 1979. Although the successive US Administrations have extended and developed the sanctions qualitatively, the various reports emphasize that the Iranians used to play around them and get a lot of the banned commodities. Only in the last two years the US implementation of the sanctions has become tougher and more perfect.

The other more important aspect is that the Security Council’s adoption of the sanctions resolution, practically means shifting the decision of the confrontation to the United Nations in a definite and final way, which is a development in the interest of Iran. Although the resolutions seems to be a moral and practical slap to the Iranian Government, which threatened the concerned countries that it would not accept the resolution that was supported by 12 countries which defied Iran and voted for the resolution, yet the resolution gives Iran some comfort and peace. The Iranians can sleep in peace after what happened yesterday. They will be confident that the Stealth warplanes and Tomahawk missiles will not set off fire in Tehran because the Security Council resolution has practically shifted the decision to bring Iran to account for its nuclear project to the council itself after it has been in the hand of the United States, which used to say openly that the military option to stop the Iranian nuclear project is on the table. Today the military solution is not on the US table, but it has become the concern of the Security Council. As long as the United States sought the help of the Security Council, it should accept to postpone any other solution for a relatively long time.

The Security Council resolution to implement economic sanctions has practically given the Iranians a truce and safeguard against a possible military punishment by the Americans or even the Israelis. Definitely, the Iranian forces have been on a permanent state of mobilization over the past few years for fear of facing a surprise attack since the conflict on its nuclear project used to be between Tehran and the United States. The Iranians’ fear has increased after the US statements that are full of threats last year. Although President Barack Obama has eased the tone of his administration and personally refrained from making threats to use force, his ranking secretaries have repeatedly said that the military solution may be necessary at a decisive moment. The language has developed to the point of making hints of using qualitative weapons that have not been used before in targeting the nuclear sites.

As a result of this, I do not think that Iran is obliged to bow to the international demand. But on the contrary, Iran feels now that the international resolution has given it more time to complete the nuclear construction by protecting it from a possible military punishment. Furthermore, the declared sanctions against Iran are not painful on the short run particularly since most of the information speaks about a period of only two years that is enough for the Iranians to reach the stage of the nuclear production, which will be a point of no return.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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