Iran will not shut down nuclear program because of international sanctions

The controversy with the Iranian nuclear program is about to reach the highest point. The peak will occur in March when the President of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed El Baradei will deliver a special report on the matter to inform the UN Security Council about the Iranian nuclear dossier. The USA and the EU will most likely introduce sanctions against Iran after the report. Russia and China may interfere and try to change the state of affairs for the better. However, Moscow and Beijing may not wish to ruin their relations with the West because of Iran.

On the one hand, Iran continues to assure the international community that its nuclear program does not have a goal to create weapons of mass destruction. Iranian representative to the IAEA Ali Asgar Soltaniyeh stated Monday that the leader of the Islamic revolution, Imam Khomeini, used to curse nuclear weapons. Therefore, the official said, it does not occur to Iran to create them.

This could probably be an important argument for Iran , but it definitely means nothing to the USA and the EU. Washington and Brussels realize that it is impossible to make Iran turn down its nuclear program. However, the West still hopes to put the controversial initiative under its control. It does not really matter if it is the IAEA or the US administration to control the nuclear program.

China and Russia do not support any of the conflicting parties. Beijing seemingly tries to exercise the independence of its approach to the solution of international problems. At the same time, China prefers not to be an irritant for the USA. Russia's interests on the matter are much more serious. On the one hand, orders from Iran saved the Russian nuclear industry from decline. On the other hand, the appearance of a nuclear state near Russia 's borders will obviously pose a serious danger to the nation's security. If Russia supports the West, it will not solve the problem. Iran will have their A-bomb sooner or later: the country has enough materials and knowledge for it. In this case, however, Russia will have another unfriendly nation at its borders.

No one knows for the time being if Iran has an A-bomb or when it is going to be ready. Israeli officials believe, for example, that Iran may launch the production of nuclear weapons already in March. However, Israel releases such statements on a monthly basis. Iran will obviously not have a couple of ready-made A-bombs at its disposal by the time of the UN Security Council report.

Let us assume that the Iranian nuclear dossier has been delivered to the UN Security Council. If the UN introduces sanctions against Iran, which consequences are going to follow?

It is obvious that Tehran will not turn down its nuclear program. IAEA experts may lose their access to nuclear objects in Iran. Iran’s share in the world market of oil makes up approximately five percent, which means that another increase of global oil prices will be quite possible. If Tehran keeps the opportunity to sell oil on the international market there will be no sense in introducing any sanctions against this country. The West will probably try to freeze Iran’s accounts in Western banks.

On the whole, Iran will obviously have to experience certain economic difficulties if sanctions are eventually put in effect. European and Russian companies which still cooperate with Iran will most likely suffer considerable losses because of this measure. However, the difficulties will not be that severe to make Iran shut its nuclear program down. The Iranian administration is perfectly aware of it – this may explain its steadfast position at the talks with the USA and the EU. US and European officials realize it as well, but there is no way they can change their minds about Iran. Introducing sanctions is a peaceful way of putting pressure on a particular state. No one is going to declare war on Iran after all: the consequences of a military operation are absolutely unpredictable.

Oleg Artyukov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov