It’s not a matter or will sanctions take place or not. It is only a matter of time. There are a wide range of sanctions that are currently being discussed.
One set of sanctions would be implemented by the United Nations. If that doesn’t come to pass, then there are sanctions that may be levied by the European Union and/or United States.
Iran despite all the talk is at this moment a sitting duck. Iran is witnessing the fishermen placing their nets all around it, yet is hopelessly confused about what exactly to do. Sooner or later, once the fishermen have tested their nets and everything is in place, they will go for the catch.
On the international level, we are witnessing the frequent visits of high level European and American politicians to the MIddle East to get them on board when the time comes. Obviously, none of the Middle Eastern countries has any veto power in the Security Council, but the effort is being made, so that when the last hurdle (China) is passed, the sanctions would be severe and unrelenting.
While all this is going on, Iran has made no attempt whatsoever to mend relations with its neighbouring countries. Neither has it made any plans to increase its refining capacity if refined gasoline is restricted. I short, Iran is simply watching while Iran’s adversaries are making their moves. Part of the reason for that could be that Iran has realized that it has no more friends it can rely on for help.
Given the current Iranian lack of diplomatic efforts to stop sanctions, Iran’s “strategy” or reallu “lack of strategy” to thwart sanctions at this moment appears to be the following:
– efforts by some foreign politicians and think tanks of limiting sanctions since it would hurt the people more and hence hurt the Green Movement
– exacerbation of tensions between Palestinians and Israelis resulting in Arab governments turning a cold shoulder to the US effort to isolate and sanction Iran
– new and heightened tensions and economic devastation in some part of the world, i.e breakout of conflict between S/Korean and N/Korea, or Pakistan vs India…etc……This should really be called the “Ya Mahdi” strategy
Though funny, the “Ya Mahdi” strategy has actually worked a few times. The most obvious was that the US following 911 chose to attack Iraq rather than Iran, when indeed Iran was both the number one sponsor of “terrorists” and actually more of a threat to US than Iraq. But, “Ya Mahdi” convinced Bush to attack Iraq instead and get embroiled in assymetric warfare and understand that ground troop invasion and nation building is far more difficult than liberating a tiny country like Kuwait was.
I personally believe that at this juncture, Ahmadinejad desperatly wants to work out something with the US to prevent possible economic hardship which would then be blamed on his government by all parties; conservatives like Mohsen Rezaei, Greens like Moussavi, Moderates like Rafsanjani & extermists like Kayhan editor in chief Hossein Shariatmadari.
However, Mr Khamenie can care less. Indeed, he wants sanctions to be levied against Iran. He figures that this would have two goals that is after:
– it would make Iranians turn their backs on the US and blame it for hurting Iranians, hence Khamenie would get his final wish to make Iranians like other Arabs hate and despise the West and US.
– he wants to see the full effect of severe sanctions. This would “free” him from being all “diplomatic” and courteous towards regional governments. Since war is out of the questions, he would want the worst sanctions against Iran to play out, so he can still challenge the US and regional governments in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq & Afghanistan. This time there would be no “denying material and monetary support.” It would be out in the open, challenge the world with no cosmetic veneers, exactly the way Khomeini did when he would make his pronouncements and even issued a death sentence against Salman Rushdie.
For those who don’t know, Khamenie is not a complex person. Khamenei is an ideologue. He really never cared for courtesy or being polite. He always wanted to say things they way he felt inside. Contrary to what some may say, he is not economically corrupt and he despises when public funds are raided. Ofcourse, if the Treasury is raided to help Hezbollah, it is not corruption to him because ultimately it is helping Islam. However, hoarding money for personal use is what he is most opposed to.
So, in our discussions when discussing economic corruption we really need to differentiate. Some use the generic term “corruption” to try and “get back” at Khamenie. However, to Khamenie, if a multi-billion dollar Bonyad or the Sepah is stealing from the people but the vast majority of the stolen funds it goes to a “good cause” like Hamas. Hezbollah or Maqtada Sadr militia then it is not corruption.
Khamenei as I stated before, is a person who wishes to say what is on his mind, without being diplomatic about it. He especially hates “personal-use” corruption. He also wishes to lash out at any goverments out there who are working with the US against Moslems like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He wants to feel free just like Khomeini.
It is therefore no wonder that Khamenie has been trying to push Rafsanjani to the sidelines and isolate him. He feels that Rafsanjani is causing him[Khamenie] to do alot of of “ro-darvasi.” And that is something Khamenie can’t stand “ro-darvasi.” He feels that he has reached the most powerful position in Iran and he should say things they way he feels like it, whether it is diplomatic or not- he can care less.
Finally, Khamenie feels bitter towards Rafsanjani and Khatami especially since during the 2000-2003, these two again got him into “ro-darvasi” and got him to be “diplomatic” even though he[Khamenie] was bitterly opposed to it. There are two instances that make Khamenie especially bitter against Rafsanjani and Khatami.
In the nuclear issue, Khatami, Rafsanjani and Rohani “convinced” Khamenie to be “diplomatic” and suspend the uranium enrichment process in an effort to “work” things out with Europeans. He felt very upset later that he had agreed since it produced no tangible results. Indeed, later on, he realized that when Ahmadinejad actually confronted the West, Iran “got more.” He felt vindicated and yet upset that the Supreme Leader was “cowing in” while the President “was doing and saying” as he felt. Khamenie felt that due to Rafsanjani and Khatami, he had indeed “cheated” himself by going along with the plan to be “polite and diplomatic” regarding the Uranium enrichment suspension for 2 years.
However, it was this issue that finally turned Khamenie against Rafsanjani and Khatami. In March 2003, due to pressure from Rafsanjani, Khatami and other “moderates” Khamenie decided to agree to send George Bush a proposal through the Swiss Embassy offering full restoration of relations, cut-off of funds to Hamas & agreement to two state solution for Israel/Palestinian conflict. In return, the proposal was rejected by an emboldened Cowboy George Bush. With its revelations to media outlets later on, Khamenie felt he lost alot of “prestige” amongst resistance groups and fundamentalists for agreeing to go with that plan. To make matters even worse, George Bush has stood FIRM while Iran CAVED in; George Bush was a Principalist, while Khamenie was an Opportunist.
With the subsequent mess that US got itself into, especially from 2004-2007 in Iraq, Khamenie would feel upset that he had “cheated” his gut feeling and agreed with Khatami and Rafsanjani in 2003 (regarding the peace proposal). Ah, he felt, he had traded in his “full faith in GOD and Divince Power” to agree with Rafsanjani and Khatami, only to be rejected by Bush.
With the coming of Ahmadinejad and his bold declarations and confrontation with the West, Khamenie immediately saw how the West backtracked in face of Ahmadinejad. He felt again that his long held belief to be “honest and undiplomatic” like Ahmadinejad and Khomeini was truly the way to “move ahead.” He felt if he stays honest with his feelings and call out corruption, decadence and Western & Middle Eastern “oppression” whenever he sees it, then “GOD and Divine Powers” would always be on his side.
Little by little Khamenie surrounded himself with people who were not “scared” to confront the West and Arab Sheikdoms. He sought to distance and isolate “appeasers” like Rafsanjani and Khatami who had caused the Islamic Republic harm by “compromising” its principles. No more been nice with the West, we are ready to take you on, he felt. So if they want to impose sanctions on Iran, so be it- this way Khamenie could finally breath freely and call things out the way he feels.
It may be no wonder why Iran is like a sitting duck during the whole sanctions issue, Khamenie may actually be looking forward to it. Heck, Khamenie is not even worried about war and air strikes. He feels they would not be enough to dislodge Velayate Faqih and would even give him more freedom to say what he truly feels inside- to express his extreme fundamentalist beliefs.