ROAR: “Sanctions will not stop Iran”

As world leaders discuss the problems of nuclear security in Washington, Iran will develop its nuclear program regardless of outside pressure, analysts believe.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is taking part in a two-day global summit on nuclear security in Washington. Meanwhile, world powers are continuing to discuss possible sanctions against Iran. Israel may even deliver a military strike if the sanctions do not work, analysts warn.

Prior to his visit to the United States, Medvedev told ABC News that sanctions should be effective and “smart” and should not be “painful.” He also warned Israel against a military attack, labeling it as “the worst possible scenario.” In case of the strike the use of nuclear weapons is not ruled out, Medvedev said, adding that it means “a global disaster.”

The chief of the Russian General Staff Nikolay Makarov described on April 12 any air strike against Iran by the United States or Israel as unacceptable. Both countries still keep this plan as a last resort, he believes.

“We should hear Iran and Iran should hear us and the global community,” the Chief of the General Staff said, adding that other states may try to follow Tehran’s example if it develops nuclear weapons. Speaking about the contract on delivering Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran, Makarov stressed that the final decision should be made by the country’s leaders.

Meanwhile, Tehran said on April 12 that it had started the final test of equipment at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in March that the first reactor would be launched at Bushehr this summer.

Iran has repeatedly said it is developing its nuclear program for peaceful purposes. “Look, if we really wanted to make a bomb, would we conceal our intentions?” Vice President of Iran and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi told Vremya Novostey daily.

“We have built one of the most independent states in the world. We do not look at America or Russia or China and Europe,” he stressed. “We would simply withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and declare that we will create a nuclear bomb now,” Salehi said. “But our spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that the creation of such a bomb is illegal and contrary to Islam.”

Tehran does not welcome new sanctions, but the country has got accustomed to them, Salehi noted. “The sanctions will create problems not only to the Iranian people, but in the end for the countries that impose them,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the world powers are getting closer to imposing new sanctions. Obama made it clear recently that he “is not interested in waiting months for a sanctions regime to be in place.”

The statement of the US president about a possible decision on the sanctions within weeks can be considered as a preparation for the meeting of the UN Security Council, Nikolay Savkin of the Institute of Strategic Assessments and Analysis told Vremya Novostey.

Moscow shares the concerns of the West about the possibility of the existence of a nuclear Iran, Savkin said. “But if the proposed sanctions seriously harm Russia’s political and economic interests in Iran, our approach may change,” he added.

The Americans need not only Russia’s agreement, but also China’s. Until recently, the efforts of the US and their allies have been opposed by Beijing, which has the right of veto in the Security Council and may block a resolution, observers said.

However, China may reconsider its position and support the new sanctions, Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted. The US has also made concessions by softening the draft resolution, it said, adding that such measures as the ban on selling petroleum to Tehran were abandoned.

However, some analysts believe that the US will not be able to influence the situation around the Iranian nuclear program. “The US president has resigned himself to the possibility of Iran possessing nuclear weapons,” Rosbalt news agency said, citing president of the Institute of Middle East Studies Evgeny Satanovsky.

It is possible to impose new sanctions on Iran, he noted, but the problem is what kind of sanctions is needed. Obama is saying the right words, but they are useless because it is senseless to frighten Iran, the analyst believes.

The US president “only demonstrates the possibility of pressure on Iran to preserve the appearance of the commitments the previous administration gave to Israel,” Satanovsky believes. Russia and China may support part of the sanctions, but this “will not stop the Iranian nuclear program either,” he told the agency.

“Iran wants to become a regional superpower,” the analyst said. “For this, it is persistently aspiring to fulfill its nuclear program and is ready to work in the conditions of any pressure,” he stressed.

The increasing tension around the Iranian nuclear program is “artificial on the one hand and quite natural on the other,” believes Aleksandr Shatilov of the Center for Political Conjuncture.

“The US wants to present Iran as an absolute world evil, he said, calling this effort as an intention to “discredit its international opponent.” On the other hand, Israel is considering the Iranian nuclear program as a threat to its national interests, he told Actualcomment.ru website.

Israel may fear that by obtaining nuclear weapons, Iran may become “a regional superpower and will be able to actively influence the developments in the Persian Gulf and beyond it.”

Russia’s position is balanced enough, Shatilov said. As a member of the nuclear club, it is not interested in the appearance of other competitors. At the same time, it does not want any clash between Iran and Israel, he said.

“I think Russia will retain a role of an unbiased international intermediary… but it will hardly allow anyone to solve such issues on a bilateral basis,” the analyst noted. In any case, Russia remains “one of the most serious and neutral intermediaries in the Iranian nuclear issue,” he stressed.

After the global nuclear summit in Washington, Moscow will take part in a nuclear disarmament conference to be held in Tehran on April 17-18, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.

“We have been invited to it and will participate in this event,” Ryabkov told Ekho Moskvy radio on April 12. Russia has already confirmed its participation to Iran, but now it is not clear at what level this event will be held.

Sergey Borisov
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT