Global Policy Forum

War is Not the Answer to Iran Puzzle

The Star
March 26, 2007

While South Africa voted reluctantly to impose new Security Council sanctions on Iran at the weekend, it also showed the world it sought to slow the momentum building towards confrontation between the West and Tehran. In its remarks to the council and its attempt to radically change the resolution, South Africa issued a warning that the strategy of pressuring Tehran over its controversial nuclear enrichment programme must somehow stop short of war. In his speech before the vote, ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said: "While South Africa recognises that the Security Council may be called upon to impose coercive measures such as sanctions, we believe these measures should be utilised with great caution, and only to support the resumption of political dialogue and negotiations to achieve a peaceful solution. "No one will win through a process of confrontation that can lead to disastrous consequences in a highly volatile region. This escalation is very worrisome." Referring to the invasion of Iraq, he said: "I was here some years ago when there was another issue that was escalating slowly like this one."

South Africa had tried, he said, with proposed amendments to the main resolution last week, to "de-escalate tensions, promote dialogue to establish confidence in the nuclear programme of Iran, and ensure IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors remain on the ground in Iran and that Iran remains a part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)". Various South African amendments to the resolution aimed at fostering confidence were accepted by the major powers after Kumalo waged an uphill battle. But the rest of the Security Council rejected South Africa's main proposal - to suspend all sanctions against Iran for 90 days to give negotiations a chance. "It's not a perfect resolution, and it is not one we would have preferred to write... but if it weren't for our amendments, there would be nothing there about protecting the IAEA, nothing there about obligations of the NPT that requires countries with nuclear weapons to disarm," Kumalo said.

But Emyr Jones Parry, Britain's ambassador, dismissed South African amendments as "minor changes". The resolution adopted unanimously on Saturday by the 15-member council adds a few more sanctions to those adopted in December. These include freezing the assets of a major state-owned Iranian bank, Bank Sepah, as well as those of several firms owned by the Revolutionary Guards. It also blocks all Iranian arms exports and calls on governments not to make new loans to Tehran. - Independent Foreign Service



FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.