Driven by hawkish French President Nicolas Sarkozy and faced with increasingly absurd warnings about the Iranian “threat” from the Obama Administration, the European Union today announced what is being called the “toughest Iran sanctions ever.”
The sanctions will be a massive change for the EU, which has generally allowed civilian trade with Iran, and will put it more in line with the United States, which has all but embargoed much of the Iranian economy.
Officials voting in favor of the measure cited Iran’s “refusal” to negotiate with the Obama Administration, with one of them praising Obama’s “clear, genuine efforts” to talk with Iran.
These efforts included the US demanding that Iran agree to a third party enrichment deal in October, pushing sanctions at the UN for refusing to sign the deal, and then angrily rejecting Iran’s offer to sign the deal just months later. Administration officials have been very open about the “diplomacy” with Iran being anything but genuine, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly saying it was about convincing Europe that diplomacy wouldn’t work, not about reaching a deal. It seems it has been successful.
Russia grudgingly supported the trimmed down UN Security Council sanctions under the assumption they would be it, but in the next week both the US and EU have announced massive new unilateral moves. Russia warns that the moves are doing harm to the UN Security Council measures and could damage future diplomacy.