Economic Sanctions against Iran

Living in the global society, it is important to follow the rules created for this society. When one country refuses to meet the requirements and tries to live in accordance with personal rules, the whole world may stand against it. Such situation has happened with Iran, the country which ahs decided to develop personal nuclear program. The importance for the country and the danger for the whole world from the nuclear weapon are obvious.

Having developed a nuclear weapon, Iran will have an opportunity to dictate their rules for other countries keeping them in stress, while others countries will have either to submit or to wait for the implementation of the warnings. The situation created around Iran and its nuclear program is advantageous, as for me, because the country has strong arguments which can help it avoid the punishment from the USA and other Western countries.

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Trying to present the situation in brief, the following information should be stated. Iran has decided to develop a nuclear program. The reasons for such decision are numerous; however, the most important of them is that Iran has all the necessary resources and knowledge.

Therefore, Iran is a country, which can allow itself develop and create an atom bomb (YouTube, 2012). However, the USA and the European Union strongly disagree with this decision and try to do all possible to prevent Iran from continuing their nuclear program. Therefore, the country has appeared in a complicated situation as in care it refuses to stop its nuclear program, the USA and other countries threaten to stop consuming its oil which may negatively influence the economy of Iran.

However, Iran, in its tern, threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is recognized to be an extremely important waterway for various countries, including the USA (the United States and other countries are provided with oil through the channel). Anyway, the government of the USA is ready to take certain actions and reopen the Strait of Hormuz, if Iran acts.

Generally, while speaking about economic sanctions, one is to keep in mind that they are to be imposed in order to achieve international political objectives.

While Iran refused to freeze its nuclear program, the United States and the European Union decided to impose additional sanctions, in order to concentrate on the country’s additional trade. However, nobody will deny the fact that the financial sanctions had a moderate impact on Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Taking into account the report the general director of IAEA provided the governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency with, some important aspects of Iran’s nuclear program were clarified.

First of all, it should be pointed out that possible military dimensions of Iran’s uranium program were revealed; the document contains information on Iran’s nuclear program and depicts information, which “indicates that Iran has carried out … activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” (Joyner, 2011, para. 3).

However, taking into consideration Iran’s agreement with the IAEA, one can conclude that there are certain key aspects, which are not highlighted in the report. For instance, there is no information about the location of Iran’s uranium stores as well as about the details of uranium enrichment process. In other words, the report is mostly related to the development of nuclear weapon.

Another important aspect, which cannot be neglected, is Iran’s claims that more uranium is to be produced to help people who need medical treatment. “In order to provide medical assistance to 800,000 cancer patients, Iran needs to enrich uranium up to 20% to be able to feed Tehran’s (research) reactor that produces the needed radioisotopes” (“Uranium Enrichment Begins at Iranian Site,” 2012, para. 8).

Having considered all the facts devoted to this situation, I made a conclusion that I cannot agree with the phrase that economic sanctions against Iran will be effective in changing its behavior with regard to its nuclear weapons program.

The very fact that the USA imposed its sanctions on Iran in December 2011 and Iran still continues developing its program and is not going to stop its work says much about the seriousness of its intentions (Blocking the Strait of Hormuz: Options for GCC Countries, 2012).

To understand the reasons of my point of view and to try to create another, opposite opinion, I will try to present two points of view giving objective arguments in favor of each statement, whether economic sanctions against Iran will be effective in changing its behavior or not.

The fact the development of the nuclear weapon in Iran has become familiar for the whole world and the global society beliefs that this is the fact that threatens them. Therefore, Iran must stop its program and refuse from possessing the nuclear weapon. However, Iran disagrees with such claim and continues its program. The USA and the European Union understand that Iran should be not only threaten, but also punished, therefore, they impose several sanctions.

The European Union refuses to purchase oil from Iran. The decision was made in December, 2011, but the crisis will come in July 1, 2012 when the contract will end, and the countries are not going to sing a new contract with Iran which may become one of the reasons for conflict. The ban on oil purchases from Iran will cover imports of crude oil, petroleum products and petrochemical products. European market has about a fifth of Iran’s oil exports.

The European Union did not want to come to military measures in solving the problem and they have decided to act in such a way. Alain Juppe, France’s foreign minister said, “To avoid any military solution, which could have irreparable consequences, we have decided to go further down the path of sanctions.

It is a good decision that sends a strong message and which I hope will persuade Iran that it must change its position, change its line and accept the dialogue that we propose” (Castle & Cowell, 2012). Trying to harm Iran as more as possible, the USA does all possible to impact it and make it stop nuclear program.

The intention to make Japan, the Asian country which has been working with Iran in many years, says that he USA will not stop before anything. However, up to now Iran remains stable and does not want to refuse from its nuclear program.

The firm insisting of Iran on its position and the lack of desire to agree on the demands of the USA and the European Union proves that Iran has some arguments in response. Thus, Iran threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz. Additionally, Iran does not believe that the ban on oil purchase from Iran will be spread on Asia. The Europe is ready to refuse from Iranian oil as it has some reserves and other sources of oil, but the situation in Asia is absolutely different.

The intention of the USA and the European Union to cut Iran’s oil exports will be implemented by no means, but how the Asian countries are going to respond is a good question. China, Japan, India and South Korea are the largest exporters of Iranian oil. Their point of view in the relation to ban is very important.

Being the largest importer of Iranian oil, China will not risk its relationships with this country. The import of Iranian oil to Beijing accounts for about 20% of all shipments from Tehran. Of course, if China supports sanctions, Iran will appear in a complicated and unfavorable situation, however, it is very doubtful that China dares for such an action.

The situation is also complicated by the fact that not only political issues are involved, but the economical as well that makes the decision too difficult. Stephen Joske of the Economist Intelligence Unit said “As far as politics is concerned, it was clear during the Arab Spring that China maintains a status quo against the governments in the region. On the economic front, China is far more reliant on imported oil than it has ever been in the past” (Singh, 2012).

However, the political ties with the USA may impact the situation, still, it is doubtful. India and Iran have been developing rather successful and effective relationships, therefore, it is doubtful that India will want to break its historic relationships with Iran. Moreover, it seems obvious that the price on oil is important for India and Iran gives it appropriate price (Singh, 2012).

Thus, looking at the created situation, the question raises whether sanctions are effective or not in general. Smith (2004) is sure that the effectiveness of sanctions is rather questionable. In most cases, if the national opposition is absent, sanctions will just encourage the target government to continue its actions which may cause political and economical problems.

Moreover, the sanctions are effective when the target government is weaker and does not have any aspects for contradiction the sanctions are going to be effective, otherwise, the sanctions will only make the target government more courageous and resolute (Smith, 2004). The situation with the USA and the European sanctions against Iran can prove this idea.

Therefore, taking into account the arguments stated above I strongly believe that neither the USA, nor the European Union will be able to impact Iran’s decisions in continuing its nuclear program.

I am sure that Asian countries will not refuse from their close ties with Iran just because the USA does not want another country to possess nuclear weapon. The position of the USA may be understood, however, it seems that all the statements about the international safely are empty. The USA cares only about their interests and the sanction is one more proof.

This sanction will harm simple people, but the US government thinks about the more important aspects, about the international polices, therefore, they are not interested in something lower. I strongly believe that economic sanctions of the USA and the European Union against Iran will not be effective in changing its behavior with regard to its nuclear weapon program.

Iran has several serous counterarguments, which are going to be helpful for Iran to protect their position. Such friendly countries as India, China and South Korea do not have any desire to spoil economic relationships with Iran even for the political benefit in one sphere of international relationships.

Reference List

Blocking the Strait of Hormuz: Options for GCC Countries. (2012). Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. Retrieved from http://studies.aljazeera.net/ResourceGallery/media/Documents/2012/2/8/20122812148318734Blocking%20the%20Strait%20of%20Hormuz.pdf

Castle, S. & Cowell, A. (2012). Europe and U.S. Tighten Vise of Sanctions on Iran. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/world/middleeast/iran-urged-to-negotiate-as-west-readies-new-sanctions.html?_r=3

Joyner, D. (2011). Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Legal Mandate of the IAEA. University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Retrieved from
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/2011/11/dan-joyner-iaea-report.php

Mosaic Special: Iran and the Nuclear Threat. (2012). YouTube. Retrieved from

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