New sanctions on Iran not advantageous to Europe (UPDATED)

Politics Materials 28 February 2009 10:35 (UTC +04:00)
New sanctions on Iran not advantageous to Europe (UPDATED)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 27 / Trend , D.Ibrahimova/

European countries' interests on Iran are different from those of the U.S. Application of more stringent economic sanctions aimed at suspending Tehran's nuclear program is unprofitable to the EU.

France, Germany and the UK proposed a list of more stringent economic sanctions against Iran, the Financial Times reported on Feb. 26. The proposal followed Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh's Feb. 25 statement that the U.S. must accept a nuclear Iran.

The Financial Times and Il Riformista correspondents obtained a secret document listing 34 Iranian companies and 10 individuals who are presumably contributing to development of Iran's nuclear program. European countries were planning to adopt more stringent sanctions with respect to these individuals and companies.

"These countries [Germany, UK and France] have maintained certain other interests and relations in dealing with Iran, attainment of which requires them to adopt somewhat different policies than that of the US. Such policies will serve their interests particularly the economic ones in their relations with Iran," Australian expert for Iran Houssein Moghaddam wrote to Trend in an email.

The U.S. and some European nations cast doubt on the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program, fearing that the country will create a nuclear weapon. Iran insists on the exclusively peaceful nature of the program.

Six UN Security Council countries (the UK, the U.S., France, Russia, China and Germany) adopted five resolutions against Iran, three of which included economic sanctions. The sanctions failed to make Iran suspend its nuclear program.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran were severed in 1980 after a capture of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Since then the two countries have had no single round of formal talks at a high level.

The United States adopted economic sanctions against the Islamic republic since then. The EU is, however, the first trading partner of Iran, French expert for Iran Clement Therme wrote to Trend in an email.

The European Union does not rule out the possibility of using Iranian gas to fill the Nabucco pipeline, European Commission Spokesman for Energy Ferran Tarradellas Espuny said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper in mid-February. The EU is conducting active diplomatic talks with Tehran. If the nuclear program issue is resolved, cooperation in gas sphere will be possible, he added.

By the end of March, Iran and French oil company Total will sign an agreement on $5 billion for gas production, Managing Director National Oil Company of Iran, Seyfolla Zhashnsaz, told RIA Novosti. 

"Such policies will serve the interests of the European countries, particularly the economic ones in their relations with Iran. What basically they are trying to say to Iran is that their future economic relations is subject to Iran's suspension of its nuclear activities," Moghaddam, Prof of Australian University of foreign Relations, author of book "Understanding Political Iran: from Mythology to Reality", said.             

Introducing sanctions with regards to Tehran is not useful for Iran itself and the European countries.

"73 percent reduction in prices of oil [which makes up 85 percent of Iran's export] will be a reason for the sanctions to be a significant blow on country's economy," expert on Iran Sadiq Zibakalam, told Trend by telephone.

However, this only one side of medal, since the European countries reduced their production because of the global financial crisis, and therefore, it is not useful for them to cease relations with Iran, Zibakalam, Prof. of international policy, lecturer of Teheran University, said.

The European draft sanctions are not new, they are part of the Western policy of "carrot and stick", Therme, French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) researcher, said. After the war in Georgia (August 2008), new Security Council sanctions have become unlikely, therefore, the EU sanctions were again considered, he said. 

According to the observers, Russia, which is constant member of the UN Security Council, more loyally relates to Iran and insists on the non-adoption of rigid sanctions with regards to Teheran. This opposition between the West and Russia became obvious after the interference of Moscow in the Georgian-Ossetian war in August 2008. The USA and the European Union accused Russia of the disproportionate introduction of force and condemned for the recognition of the independence of two regions separated from Georgia.

On the other hand, the concerns of the European countries can be explained through the recent achievements of Iran with regards to nuclear energy and science.

Two recent major events in Iran namely "launching Omid satellite to the orbit" earlier in the month and testing Iran's first nuclear power plan of Bushehr on Wednesday can easily convince the European powers to embark upon a new range of reactions to Iran, said Moghaddam.

According to Michael Bauer, German expert on Iran  the Europeans want to exercise leadership in the negotiations about the nuclear program. Due to his words, this is made in the first place vis a vis the US to make sure that Obama does not simply take over the whole issue. Probably they also  want to signal to Iran that Tehran will have to make concessions regarding the nuclear program, notwithstanding the new US administration's softer approach,- Bauer, the researcher of German Center for applied policy research said to Trend via e-mail.

On the other hand, some experts think that it is possible to consider the sanctions proposed by Europe as the friendly gesture, addressed to the United States.

According to Zibakalam, Europeans want to help the United States in putting pressure on Iran without involvement of Barack Obama in this. "If Obama begins to put larger pressure on Iran, this will spoil his image, which Europe does not want," he said.

During the pre-election campaign, Barack Obama came with the slogan of the policy of changes. He is the first American President, who over the last 30 years of "diplomatic silence" highlighted the possibility for cooperation with Teheran.

D.Khatinoglu contributed to the article

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