Reuters: Turkey and Brazil made a “big mistake” by voting against the latest round of U.N. sanctions against Iran since this may have encouraged Tehran to think it was not isolated, a senior German legislator said on Thursday.
By Dave Graham
BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkey and Brazil made a “big mistake” by voting against the latest round of U.N. sanctions against Iran since this may have encouraged Tehran to think it was not isolated, a senior German legislator said on Thursday.
Ruprecht Polenz, who chairs the foreign policy committee in the Bundestag (lower house), told Reuters the “no” votes by Brazil and Turkey had blunted the impact of a fourth round of sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
“Iran doesn’t want to be isolated,” Polenz, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), said in an interview.
“Therefore it was a big mistake that Brazil and Turkey weakened the joint message of the Security Council by voting against,” he said, adding that Lebanon’s decision to abstain was understandable due to domestic pressure.
Twelve members of the 15-nation council voted in favour of the resolution to extend punitive measures against Iran over its protracted refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activity and open up to U.N. nuclear inspectors.
The resolution received the least support of four meted out against Iran since 2006.
Iran defiantly responded that it would press ahead with enrichment no matter what and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the measure should be tossed “in the waste bin”.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said isolation was no solution to the Iranian issue.
Polenz said Turkey had apparently been on the verge of abstaining until shortly before the vote.
The Iranian government always had a problem at home when the international community was united in its actions, he said.
The U.N. resolution calls for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programmes is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.
Brazil and Turkey, angry at the West’s dismissal of a nuclear fuel exchange offer by Iran which they brokered as a way of easing fears Iran aims to derive atom bombs from enrichment, argued that their initiative made new sanctions unnecessary.
Germany said on Wednesday the door to further talks on that fuel proposal remained open but this was just a “small facet” of the Iran nuclear issue.
Despite the failure of recent diplomacy, Polenz urged the international community to explore other ways of extending joint cooperation with Tehran, citing moves to stamp out the heroin trade from Afghanistan as a possible avenue.
Moreover, international efforts should be stepped up to identify “objective guarantees” that the Iranian nuclear programme remains peaceful without becoming fixated solely on the question of uranium enrichment, Polenz said.
The lack of progress towards a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians had also played into the hands of countries like Iran that opposed a negotiated solution, he said.
“It’s clear that Israel must give up its blockade of economic goods (to Gaza),” Polenz said, adding that the blockade was counterproductive and only strengthened Hamas, the Islamist rulers of the Palestinian enclave. (Editing by Mark Heinrich)