Monday Jan 23, 201207:28 PM GMT
'Iran sanctions will backfire on West'
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:27PM
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The latest round of EU sanctions against Iran will backfire, a political analyst says. Photo is of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
The US-led sanctions on Iran are “ineffective” and “harmful to the economic interests of their imposers” as Tehran has always found a way round them, says an international relations professor.

“Sanctions all too often are a poor alibi for, not a sound supplement to, a good foreign policy,” wrote Ramesh Thakur, an Australian National University professor, on The Australian website.

The US, Israel and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran. The UN sanctions have also been bolstered by a series of unilateral sanctions.

“They [sanctions] are ineffective, counterproductive, harmful to the economic interests of those imposing sanctions, damaging to relations with allies, morally questionable, yet difficult to lift once imposed,” Thakur stressed.

Not only is it “virtually impossible” to secure universal participation in embargoes, Thakur explained, but it is also “difficult” to police their application in participating countries.

“Iran has progressively shifted its trade patterns from North America and Europe to Asian partners and is now exploring Latin American prospects.”

On New Year's Eve, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh unilateral economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution. The bill ultimately takes aim at Iran's oil industry.

The European Union followed suit with the bloc hitting the Islamic Republic with unprecedented sanctions on Monday, according to which the EU members are banned from importing any Iranian crude as of July 1.

Thakur further cast light upon the hypocrisy ridden nature of the use of the sanctions as “a tool to be used only by the West against the rest.”

“Not one of the five Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty-licit nuclear powers has been sanctioned for violating Article 6 obligations to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Nor have any of the three belligerent countries for their illegal aggression against Iraq in 2003.”

“Against this formidable list of non-sanctions, dubious sanctions and the failure of sanctions, the list of successful outcomes of sanctions policies is thin and patchy,” Thakur concluded.

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