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Coming Iran Sanctions Weakened

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated the Russian position that any UN sanctions on Iran must be ‘proportionate.’ “It is necessary to act on Iran but that action should be in direct proportion to what is really happening. And what is really happening is what the IAEA reports to us. And the IAEA is not reporting to us about the presence there of a threat to peace and security.”

But what is really happening is that cash-strapped Russia continues to be the beneficiary of an Iranian contract to complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant on the edge of the Persian Gulf for upwards of US$800 million. And sanctions on Iran must therefore be proportionate to Russian economic interests rather than proportionate to any Iranian nuclear threat.

And so Europe and the United States have agreed that the language of a draft proposal of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program to be submitted to the United Nations Security Council for consideration will include a waiver permitting Russia to build Iran’s nuclear facility in order “get the Russians to go along.”

In exchange also, Russia apparently will withdraw its demand that the US lift sanctions that have been placed on the Russian state-controlled arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, and aircraft manufacturer Sukoi. The two were slapped with US sanctions for providing prohibited (by US law) equipment and technology to Iran. Rosoboronexport is the world’s largest producer of titanium.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Moscow attempting to persuade Russia to act against Iran. But Olmert was unable to make headway with the former head of the KGB, as the VOA story made quite clear. “Mr. Olmert said he is confident that Mr. Putin understands Israel’s concerns. But in a joint news conference Wednesday, Mr. Putin said nothing about Iran’s nuclear program.”

For the Iranian people, it remains business as usual as the regime the regime put a 128k cap on internet access speeds in attempt to hinder information flow to the Iranian citizenry from the West as elections near. As candidates begin to register for Iran’s elections coming December 15th, they are all vetted by the Guardian Council, the same body that eliminated liberal reformist candidates from the ballots when Ahmadinejad was elected in June 2005. The same is expected this year.