Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, indirectly rebutted pressure by the international community on his country because of suspicions regarding the aims of his nuclear program. According to the official Iranian news agency, Irna, Ahmadinejad declared that “world disputes,” which are part of “global arrogance,” interfere with regional development efforts.
Iran, he said, would fight to protect its culture and values. “The Iranian nation is destined to attain great achievements and high levels of development while preserving our own culture far from the Western way of life,” said the president. “The bet that global arrogance is making is that they can dominate the world by disseminating discord among nations.”
At the same time, the president of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, criticized international pressure in favor of sanctions against Iran. The movement, he said, was led by the Barack Obama administration in the United States. “The language of sanctions and resolutions is not appropriate for a dialogue and interaction with the Republic of Iran,” he declared.
Brazil’s position is against sanctions. The Brazilian Foreign minister, Celso Amorim, has just traveled to Istanbul, Moscow and Tehran as part of a diplomatic effort before the official visit by president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Tehran on May 15.
Amorim’s objective was to gather support for further negotiations. He was partially successful: Turkey is with Brazil against sanctions; Russia is in favor of something called “intelligent sanctions.”
Meanwhile, behind the scenes at the United Nations there is enormous pressure from the US and Europe for more sanctions against Tehran. There have already been three rounds of sanctions and its controversial nuclear program.
The issue is expected to come to a vote in the UN Security Council in May. As Brazil and Turkey are rotating members of the Security Council at the moment, there will not be a unanimous vote in favor of sanctions.
However, the question, as always in the UN Security Council, is what the voters with vetoes will do. The US, France and England are in favor; Russia in favor of “intelligent sanctions.” China will probably never vote in favor of any sanctions, but may be persuaded to abstain.
Twenty percent of China’s petroleum comes from Iran so much of the behind the scenes maneuvering has involved getting oil tankers from places like Saudi Arabia to China to ensure there is no shortfall in the world’s fastest growing economy.
Thus, because of all the horse trading required, even if sanctions are approved they may be watered down sanctions; they may well be what Brazil has been saying sanctions always tend to be: dumb sanctions that never harm the people and institutions they are supposed to, but rather the more vulnerable general population.