ZOA: Obama’s New U.N. Sanctions Against Iran Too Weak To Work
June 10, 2010


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply concerned that the new Iran sanctions resolution shepherded through the United Nations Security Council by the Obama Administration are too weak to affect the Iranian regime and thereby deter it from continuing on its path to acquiring nuclear weapons. The ZOA is concerned by the fact that the Obama Administration, in nearly 18 months, has made no progress in getting the Iranian regime to slow or stop its drive towards a nuclear weapons capability and that it spent vital months to achieve any sort of international action and then did so only at great cost to the very effectiveness of the sanctions now agreed upon. In addition, during these 18 months, the Obama Administration has prevented the U.S. Congress from passing any sanctions bill against Iran, let alone a tough sanctions bill.


The new Iran resolution has been also criticized by But Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the House Republican Conference, who said that “The failure to get a unanimous vote at the U.N. Security Council behind what was a weak set of economic sanctions represents a failure of leadership by this administration … a failure by the United Nations to live up to its historic charter of confronting rising threats by dictatorships … [the resolution] is likely to embolden Iran in its nuclear ambitions … With the action of the U.N. Security Council today, Iran can continue to enrich uranium and continue to develop weapons and weapon systems … We are not the world’s entire economy, but we are the world’s most powerful economy … We should use the strength of the American economy and our ties across the planet to bring real economic pressure on Iran while there is still time … Our last, best hope is strong, immediately and punitive economic sanctions by the most powerful economy in the world.”


Pence also reportedly warned that the White House is continuing to exert pressure on committee Democrats to include waivers in the bill that would allow the secretary of state simply to forgo any sanctions against foreign companies that continue to sell refined petroleum products to Iran.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “We waited more than a year for this weak resolution? … Like its predecessors, this resolution has no means of effective enforcement. It implicitly discourages nations from taking further action. And it doesn’t even prohibit Russia from selling S-300 missiles to Iran” (Ken Timmerman, ‘Pence: Obama’s Iran Sanctions Lack Teeth Needed to Stop Rising Dictatorship,’ Newsmax, June 9, 2010).


Commentary Managing Editor Jonathan Tobin writes, “like the three previous rounds of UN sanctions on Iran, we can expect this latest one to have no impact on either Iran’s willingness to buck global displeasure over the nuclear issue or its ability to proceed with its plans” (‘New Sanctions Give Iran Nothing to Worry About,’ Commentary blog, ‘Contentions,’ June 9, 2010).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The new sanctions upon Iran do not touch that which is vital to the success of sanction on Iran – Iran’s oil, financial and insurance sectors. For example, one of the most vulnerable points of the Iranian economy is its lack of oil refinement facilities. Yet, to have China vote for the resolution, the resolution does not call for an end to foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector, in which China is heavily invested and which assists Iran in developing oil refineries.


“To have Russia agree to this resolution, Russia’s contract to supply S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran remains in force. Such missiles, when delivered, will pose added dangers for any effort to militarily deal with Iran’s nuclear capacity via air strikes if diplomacy and sanctions predictably fail.


“Although the resolution speaks of new restrictions on shipping to Iran, requiring countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect that banned cargo is aboard, this resolution contained no authorization to board ships by force at sea. Thus, it is toothless. Moreover, even the New York Times reported on June 7 on Iran’s past success in evading sanctions, noting that ‘Iran has used a succession of stratagems — changing not just ships’ flags and names but their owners, operators and managers, too — to stay one step ahead of its pursuers. This cat-and-mouse game offers a case study in the difficulties of enforcing sanctions.


“As Benny Avni’s observes in the New York Post, ‘Obama’s diplomacy wound up with less support at the UN than the much-maligned George W. Bush approach, which united the Security Council three times on Iran sanctions. Worse, Obama left enough holes in the sanctions “achievement” to drive through a truckload of uranium.’


“The Obama Administration has hit upon a bad mix – focusing on UN resolutions and obtaining supposedly broad support in such a way as to actually produce only tame, weak, ineffective international measures like the latest sanctions, while failing utterly to stop the Iranian regime, which continues its drive towards nuclear weapons unhindered and unpunished. The Obama Administration has thereby lost credibility that it will do, as Obama put it before he was elected, ‘everything’ to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power, something that must deeply concern all Americans and all supporters of Israel.”


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