Some Weak Sanctions on Iran

| Wed May 19, 2010 12:44 PM EDT

The draft resolution imposing UN sanctions on Iran was released yesterday, and sure enough, it's pretty weak tea. The Washington Post summarizes:

Among other measures, the resolution would expand an asset freeze and travel ban against individuals and entities linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps....The resolution would establish an embargo on large weapons systems such as battle tanks, combat aircraft and missiles [...] but would not include the comprehensive arms embargo sought by the United States and France. Iran could continue to buy light weapons.

....The resolution would establish a "framework" for inspections of suspect cargo at sea or in ports....Moreover, financial institutions that establish "reasonable grounds" to believe Iranian banks or other firms are evading sanctions are called upon to block any financial transactions, including the issuance of insurance or reinsurance, related to banned proliferation activities.

....The Obama administration failed to win approval for key proposals it had sought, including restrictions on Iran's lucrative oil trade, a comprehensive ban on financial dealings with the Guard Corps and a U.S.-backed proposal to halt new investment in the Iranian energy sector.

Even at that, though, Turkey and Brazil are pissed because this takes the shine off the pledge they got from Iran on Monday to ship some of its uranium stockpile out of the country for further enrichment. It's not clear how big a deal this is in the long run, especially since UN sanctions aren't generally very effective anyway, but Tehran has certainly played its cards cleverly. The full text of the resolution is here.