Bush’s Sanctions against Iran

12 Nov

Why is the Bush Administration so keen on hurting Iran? There is no doubt that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dictator and that the Iranian regime has violated various human rights such as its clampdown of press freedom, imposition of capital punishments, and denying women their rights. Ahmadinejad has even been ridiculed by the world for denying that homosexuality exists in Iran. Yet, that has not stopped the Bush Administration from courting autocratic regimes such as President Musharraf in Pakistan to Zhu Rongji of China.

According to Straits Times article, dated 10 November, ‘EU giants told to shun Iran or risk losing US deals’, the US government has told EU multinational corporations that they stop their business operations in Iran or else risk losing their US business. According to the report, Siemens, along with Germany’s three largest banks, Deutsche, Commerzbank and Dresdener have all “bowed to US pressure”. Senior US officials including Vice- President Dick Cheney; Undersecretary for State, Nicholas Burns; and Undersecretary at the Treasury, Stuart Levey have all warned European firms from Iranian ventures. It is also reported that the British Foreign Office and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have related the same messages to their own home based corporations such as Shell, BP, Total and GDF.

While the Bush Administration claims that Iran is planning to produce nuclear weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly stated that there is no evidence of such plans or that Iran possesses any nuclear weapons program. Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that is governed by the IAEA which does regular inspection of nuclear facilities of its members. To discredit the agency’s findings, Israel’s deputy prime minister and former military chief, Shaul Mofaz, has called for the dismissal of Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of IAEA, who criticised the American administration for the 2003 Iraqi invasion. As history has shown, it turns out that Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction, which was then used as the main justification to invade the country and topple the Saddam Hussein regime.

Tehran on the other hand, has repeatedly rejected accusations that it is planning to manufacture any nuclear weapons, and insisted it is pursuing nuclear technology for peaceful civilian purposes such as power generation, and as such, refused to heed U.N. Security Council demands to halt enrichment. ElBaradei has also reiterated that even if Iran wanted to build a nuclear bomb it would take years for that to happen.

This is an eerie yet similar parallel that the Bush Administration used towards Iran when it tried to justify its invasion in Iraq in 2003.

By using sanctions and threatening EU multinationals and telling them not to have any business dealings with Iran, the Administration is trying to cut off the economic lifeline of the country. Such measures are extremely dangerous as it pushes the Iranian government to pursuing a dangerous, if not isolationist path towards military extremism.

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