Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Country Is Embracing Tougher Sanctions

The permanent members of the UN Security Council moved closer to agreement on a second resolution against Iran. The Security Council may vote on the proposed new sanctions by Friday 16 March. In addition to previous sanctions imposed against Iran, the new resolution is expected to impose an embargo on arms exports, a ban on governmental loans to Iran, and asset freeze on more individuals and companies linked to the nuclear program. The Russians also announced that the completion of Bushehr nuclear reactor will be delayed at least until November 2007.The plant was scheduled to go on line this month.

The Islamic Republic seems determined to continue its uranium enrichment program, even though it will certainly face further isolation politically and in the global marketplace. Although the former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, urged the Iranian government to pay “a certain price” in order to resolve the nuclear standoff and to avoid the second sanctions resolution at the UN, the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that he will be going to the UN to personally defend the country’s nuclear program.

Enrichment of uranium has become the defining policy of Ahmadinejad’s presidency; notwithstanding the fact that the uranium enrichment does not enrich the Iranian economy. On the contrary, with the escalating sanctions and the country becoming increasingly isolated, the enrichment program will have economic and financial costs associated with it that might prove unbearable even for the political leadership in Tehran. Foreign investment in the foreseeable future is out. Gasoline import will be endangered. Inflation and unemployment will worsen. The lack of social justice and the sun-standard living conditions for the poor will become even more pronounced.

Is the uranium enrichment worth all these? The government will say it is: it is after all an undeniable right for the nation to develop its own uranium enrichment program. But is it worth the price of ruining the country’s economy and isolating it even further in this fast-paced global age? Hardly! We just need to look where we are in comparison to other countries that were our co-equals not long ago.

GDP per Capita (US dollar)
GDP 1980 1990 2000 2005

Iran 2645 3752 5826 7979
Thailand 1355 3715 6279 8551
Malaysia 2153 4519 8927 10843
South Korea 2617 7992 16179 21868

Numbers powerfully remind us that the country’s economy and the government’s defining policies are heading in a wrong direction. The government owes its citizens much better conditions that what they now have. An advanced and prosperous Iran will make the nation and the citizens proud.

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