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August 7, 2006
Iran Threatens To Sanction Themselves Again

With the UN pressing Iran for an answer to its incentive package in return for their surrender of their nuclear-weapons program, Iran threatened to use the "oil weapon" if the world applies sanctions to the Islamic Republic. However, as the London Times points out, that move alone would effectively be a self-imposed sanctions regime:

IRAN yesterday rejected a United Nations demand that it halt uranium enrichment work, vowing instead to expand its controversial nuclear programme and threatening to block oil exports to the West if sanctions are imposed.

In a blunt response to international concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Ali Larijani, the chief negotiator on atomic issues, said that Tehran was ready for a showdown with world powers when the matter was taken up by the UN Security Council this month.

“We will expand nuclear technology at whatever stage it may be necessary and all of Iran’s nuclear technology including the [centrifuge] cascades will be expanded,” he said in Tehran. ...

Mr Larijani also served warning that Iran would retaliate if the world imposed sanctions. “We will react in a way that would be painful for them. They should not think that they can hurt us and we would stand still without a reaction.

“We do not want to use the oil weapon. Do not force us to do something that will make people shiver in the cold. We do not want that,” he said.

Iran has threatened this kind of response earlier this year. In February, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that he had cancelled all contracts involving nations whose media had published the Prophet Cartoons. That order would have ended economic ties between the mullahcracy and European powers such as France, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway -- another oil exporter -- as well as New Zealand and Poland. Nothing came of these threats, apparently, as Iran thought better of cutting off all their influence in the West while the nuclear issue still percolated.

Nothing will come of these threats, either. Iran relies on oil exports for 80% of its international trade. They would starve themselves if they cut off their oil sales to the West, and effect an embargo without any effort at all on the West's part. With their political standing already in question in Iran, this kind of self-imposed economic collapse would likely trigger a massive response from the already-discontented Iranians.

It's a bluff, and a rather obvious one at that. The mullahs will not sign their own death warrants, which is what an economic crisis invites. The UN needs to call Iran on the bluff and demonstrate that not only will no one shiver in the cold, no one will shiver in fear of Islamic nutcases with nuclear weapons, either. If they want peaceful nuclear power, the offer from the West gives them that. If they reject it, they want weapons, and we will do whatever it takes to stop them from acquiring them.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 7, 2006 5:48 AM

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"Iran vowed yesterday to expand its uranium enrichment, defying a U.N. Security Council deadline for it to suspend its nuclear activities by the end of the month or face the threat of political and economic sanctions," the AP reports. So... [Read More]

Tracked on August 7, 2006 7:02 AM


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