Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis
by Liang Youchang
TEHRAN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- With its usual
rhetoric in condemning the latest U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic,
Iran has turned a cold shoulder to the U.S. unilateral move, refraining from
taking any drastic action to derail its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog
IAEA and the European Union.
LIMITED IMPACT ON
Washington announced Thursday that it is imposing new
sanctions against Iran because Tehran supports terrorism in the Middle East,
exports missiles while engaging in a nuclear buildup.
U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson
(L) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice walk to the podium before
announcing economic sanctions on Iran to pressure it to halt its nuclear
program, at the State Department in Washington Oct. 25, 2007.
The sanctions, which will be imposed against Iran's
Defense Ministry, its Revolutionary Guard Corps and more than 20 Iranian
companies, banks and individuals, are the most extensive since Washington and
Tehran severed their diplomatic relations in 1980.
Observers believe that the new sanctions will surely
cause further inconvenience in Iran's import-export businesses and affect its
investment environment in the long run, but under the current circumstances, the
unilateral measures have little impact in isolating Iran from outside world and
changing its policy.
Since the United States and Iran have no direct
business contacts, the sanctions will have no practical significance.
Although Washington also warns against foreign banks
and companies doing business with Iran, the Islamic Republic still has extensive
economic ties with many countries, including Russia and elsewhere in Europe.
Some local observers said that the unilateral U.S.
measures would not necessarily be followed by non-American companies, especially
those from countries that are not Washington's allies.
Meanwhile, the U.S. sanctions have not gone as far as
blocking Iran's export of crude oil, which is the mainstay of the country's
Analysts believe that the soaring oil prices will
help Tehran to partially offset the damage caused by U.S. sanctions.
However, the U.S. sanctions, which came as Washington
is ratcheting up its warning of a "growing Iranian threat", would heighten the
confrontation between the two countries and complicate the Iran nuclear issue.
U.S. President George W. Bush warned on Oct. 17 that
a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to world peace, saying "I've told people
that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to
be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to
make a nuclear weapon."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also told
Congress on Wednesday that Iran is "perhaps the single greatest challenge" to
American national security.
With tough-worded response against the remarks,
Iranian officials have interpreted the new U.S. sanctions as an evidence of U.S.
deep-seated hostility to the Islamic Republic, saying that the American move
came as Tehran was making continuous efforts to hold talks with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union (EU).
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali
Hosseini condemned the new U.S. measures, calling them "worthless and doomed to
General Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of Iran's Islamic
Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is one of the main targets of the latest U.S.
punishment, warned that his forces would respond with an even "more decisive
strike" to any attack on the country.
Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili
vowed on Friday that Theran's nuclear policy remained "totally unchanged" even
though the United States slapped more extensive sanctions on it.
Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator
Saeed Jalili (seen here Oct. 23) has said the latest U.S. sanctions
imposed on Tehran would have no affect on the country's nuclear policies,
the ISNA news agency reported.(Xinhua/AFP File Photo)
"The Islamic Republic of Iran's basic policy of
negotiations aimed at seeking new ways for cooperation and resolving the
outstanding issues with the UN nuclear agency and removal of misunderstanding
about national nuclear program remains totally unchanged," he said.
Jalili's remarks indicate that Iran was taking a
cold-minded approach in keeping cooperation with the IAEA and the EU in a bid to
counter Washington's push for further international sanctions on Tehran.
Some observers believe that Washington's latest
"go-it-alone" move reflects a widening gap between the United States and its
European allies over how to confront Tehran.
"Imposition of one-sided sanctions by the U.S.
indicates that it is disappointed with the companionship of other world
countries in the confrontation with Iran," Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa
Mohammad Najjar told his Diplomacy Committee session on Saturday.