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25 May, 2010 23:04

Calls for sanctions against North Korea and Iran continue

The United States has reached an agreement with Russia to place new sanctions on Iran as South Korea pushes for further international sanctions on North Korea.

Lately, the consensus by many has been that sanctions alone simply do not work.

Sanctions are not going to solve the problem. But, as you increase the pressure on Iran the price becomes higher and higher and they will have a marginal impact,” said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former US assistant secretary of defense.

More importantly, said Korb, is the fact that all five of the permanent members of the UN Security Council have agreed to sanctions. This sends a clear message to Iran that they will be unable to play the US and Russia or China against one another.

Although the Brazil-brokered deal between Turkey and Iran is in motion, it is not complete. The proposed UN sanctions on Iran will take that into consideration along with the fact that Iran is still not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The sanctions in Iran will target the banks and financial assets controlled by the Revolutionary Guard.

In the Pacific, North Korea will likely suffer more from sanctions. South Korea is the North’s second largest trade partner and cutting of trade relations will have a noticeable impact on the country.

It is going to make life more difficult in North Korea than it already is. Is it going to get them to change their behavior? Probably not,” said Korb.

North Korea is threading to strike if retaliatory measures are taken against them. Threats from North Korea are frequent and are usually not usually acted upon.

The best thing you can do with North Korea is not overreact. That’s what they want you to do,” said Korb.

Moving forward, the response by China will be important. It is in China's interest to maintain the status quo in the region and the country is unlikely to welcome an increased US presence on the Korean peninsula.