Do sanctions work?

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council voted to impose tougher sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. The resolution imposes a freeze on certain Iranian assets held abroad, bans travel by five Iranian officials and bars the sale of equipment that could have a military use. It’s hoped the sanction will send out a strong signal of disapproval to the Iranian government. But Iran, which insists that its nuclear programme is for generating electricity, not atomic weapons, says the new UN sanctions are illegal.

But will they make a difference? Are sanctions self defeating?We will also be tying in the story of the British government possibly considering banning all sports people from Zimbabwe from competing in Britain. The BBC’s sports news correspondent says a complete ban is one of the options being considered by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to prevent Zimbabwe’s cricket team from touring England next year.The aim is to display a tough stance towards the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who’s accused of human rights abuses.

Are sanctions like this the best way to deal with “unfriendly” states?

59 Responses to “Do sanctions work?”

  1. 1 Kebby (email)
    March 4, 2008 at 13:59

    Sanctions is an immoral act of punishing ordinary citizens .look at the way people in Zimbabwe are suffering.The leaders of this world have a direct responsiblity of saving lives that are dying.Why cant we also charge the former colonial masters with genocide and other crimes for slave trade and others?Who is morally upright Gordon Brown or Mugabe ? Because the British people are also responsible for millions of lives in Iraq and Afaganistan.Why cant the UN sanction US and Britain.
    Also the BBC had shown alot of bias by not telling us the where about of the young prince of Britain.How you impartial ? is your responsibility to only protect the interest of the people of Britain or world over?

  2. 2 Brett
    March 4, 2008 at 14:31

    Are sanctions like this the best way to deal with “unfriendly” states?

    They generally hurt the population, not the leaders or their agendas. On the flip side, they open up incentives for trade and commerce for those nations which have no sanctions imposed and are interested in trading with the country in question. In some instances this can strengthen ties between the countries who are in effect ‘exiled’ from the international community as they open up trade with eachother (assuming they are not at odds). Whether or not this is a positive or negative thing is dependent upon who is looking at the situation and what their agendas are.
    Do they work? It depends on what other countries are involved, what types of sanctions, and what the countries imports/exports are and how they function to determine if sanctions will hurt them.

    Waging sanctions is better policy than waging war.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 Chimezie from Nigeria by email
    March 4, 2008 at 15:11

    On the question of if sanctions will work against iran, my answer is no i don’t think so.

    The iranians are so much committed and believe in what they are doing and i believe that the only way the world can get them to back off is through friutfull dialogue and not by compulsion as the americans are trying to do.

    We can achieve better result by engaging countries like russia and china in talking to iran. i beleive the UN should take that initiative if we are to acheive any significant result.

  4. 4 Henry by email
    March 4, 2008 at 15:12

    Oh! yes sanctions do work,it worked during the aparthied era in South Africa and im sure it will do so for Iran and Zimbabwe,the list should also include Sudan but the sanctions be more radical for the rogue states to feel it.



  5. 5 Devadas by email
    March 4, 2008 at 15:14

    the world has not learned its lessons from the past for sure thats what this sanction as a remedial measure is being still sought out by nations against other nations on some differences .

    the best example that sanctions wont work of what its intended to be is the economic sanctions against cuba by america for the last 45 years. nearly 10 american presidents after the sanctions on cuba has gone but fidelcastro all this years ruled with his socialist ideology all these years and retired on his own self last month still with his control on cuban policy making ?

    so just by taking this example the sanctions against iran and zimbawe may become counterproductive as the leaders there will use this sanction drive by unitednations as a weapon to fight imperialistic forces ..when this theory is propagated during sanctions it will cut through iran and zimbawe just like knife going through butter?

    and using sports as means to drive home the political point is indeed bad by britain .then in london olymbics if lot of countries use it as a point to drive their political point of agression of afghaniztan,iraq,etc how will britain respond ..zimbawan misrule must be dealt politically and not by restricting zimbawan cricketers from playing in england already their cricket is in shambles this is time to help their cricketers and make a point back in zimbawe?

    and the paradox way international law and unitednations operate must be dealt with in this era of sanctions.

    israel having free killing spree in palestine,soma;ian border transgressed by us forces ,ecuador border transgressed by maerican supported columbian forces,still transgressed iraq and afghanizthan by usa and britain in flouting all un charters and rules ?
    and a country like pakistan is being helped with billions which is the haven of terrorist activity were laden,dawoodibrahim,mullaomar ,all carry their terrorist activities .

    and yet in this midst sanctions against iran and zimbawe only ..it stinks when you look overall.


  6. 6 Yogesh by email
    March 4, 2008 at 15:17

    Sanctions don’t work because they isolate the country, boosts human sufferings and hence even more hate and thus revenge attacks. Civilised way would be to offer helping hand (probably financially and via tourism) to reduce hate which would make enemy become a friend. At the end of the day we do need each other to make our and our future generation’s life better. Don’t let enemies teach us how to be unkind when we have the option to make them become kinder.

    I hope this makes sense in solving complex problems in a simple way.

    Thank you. Regards

  7. March 4, 2008 at 15:23

    Sanctions are defeatist way of colonial masters and superpowers running away from solutions to problems they have helped to create.

    There has not been any one success story of sanctions against deviant nations. From sanctions (embargo)against North Korea in 1950, Cuba in 1962, Iran in 1979, Burma in 1990, Sudan in 1997, Zimbabwe in 2003, Syria in 2004, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Sanctions have rather helped dictators like Kim Jong-il, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro and Jonas Savimbi to foolishly plunder their country and shore themselves up whilst their citizenry suffer devastating epidemics, squalor snd famine.

    I will suggest continuos diplomacy and dialogue. In South Africa, economic and cultural sanctions could not bring down a repressive regime. The funtioning multi-pary democracy and the release of Nelson Mandela after 30 years of imprisonment took place through dialogue.

  8. 8 Bruce, from Brooklyn USA
    March 4, 2008 at 15:33

    Economic sanctions do work over a period of time.
    Iran needs spare parts for its infrastructure and aviation industry.

    Military intervention has a more dramatic effect, however it exacerbates human suffering.

    Bruce in Brooklyn..

  9. 9 Chukwuma by email
    March 4, 2008 at 15:40

    the workability of sanctions is relative as its effects is bound in time and space. it is ideal to impose sanctions when someone errs.

    however, is it morally defendable that the western and other asian lords possesses nuclear weapons while stopping others to have theirs.

    Iran should be stopped while at the same time all nuclear weapons in the world should be destroyed.

    failure to be impartial is hypocrisy. if it is good for Sam, it is good for Muhamed. If not good for Muhamed, its not good for Sam.

  10. 10 steve
    March 4, 2008 at 15:47

    Chukwuma, Sam doesn’t talk about wiping nations off the map.

  11. 11 Mohammed Ali
    March 4, 2008 at 15:54

    The answer to the question “Do Sanctions work” is a resounding NO.The only purpose sanctions serve is to severely suffer the poor and downthrodden masses of the country on which the sanction is imposed. There is no way sanction will affect the rich and those in the hem of power.

  12. 12 VictorK
    March 4, 2008 at 15:56

    For me the question of whether or not sanctions work (and iit’s not saying much to state that sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t) is less important than to ask by what right Country A presumes to coerce Country B through sanctions.

    Except to prevent or punish genocide, mass murder, or the illegal occupation of another country I don’t think that sanctions can be justified, even if they might achieve other supposedly worthy ends such as the removal of a despotic regime and its replacement by a democratic one (though as Iraq shows this may only be a good thing in theory). The essence of sovereignty is that no state is accountable to any external power for its conduct, unless it breaches the fundamental right to life or threatens the peace of nations.

    What is there to choose between the dictator Mugabe and the dictatorship in Beijing? Yet the hypocrite Gordon Brown raves against the first and was recently shaking hands and signing business contracts with the second. Sanctions were not justified against South Africa, since its treatment of its people was not only no worse but was in fact considerably better than that of every other African country (Under apartheid South Africa’s black population had the highest standard of living in sub-Saharan Africa; the country also had an illegal immigration problem with people trying to get in). Sanctions against Cuba have been, for the greater part of their existence, designed to appease Cuban emigres in a sordid bi-partisan vote-grabbing exercise. I’m astonished that the freedom of Americans to trade and travel has been sacrificed in order to promote the interests of non-Americans. I suspect that the US constitution grants no such power to constrain liberties in this way.

    It is in the same spirit that the authoritarian, illiberal, freedom-hating British government seeks to curb the liberty of its people to participate in sporting events with Zimbabwe. The British government is entitled to direct and limit the activities of any arm of the state; it is Mugabe-style despotism to start dictating to private individuals and civil society organisations who they should have contacts with. In fact, it is worse than anything Mugabe has done in this respect since he is perfectly content to allow Zimbabwean sportmen the liberty to play with and against whoever they please.

    The sanctions against Iran are justified. The Iranian government cannot be trusted. It’s leadership is not entirely sane. It has repeatedly stated its intention to commit genocide against Israel. It is already a sponsor of international terror. The extent of its irresponsibility is such that the prospective danger of its arming terrorists with dirty nuclear bombs can’t be ruled out. Not only are sanctions against Iran justified but so would a nuclear strike against that country be if it were ever on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability. some countries are unfit to be trusted with nuclear weapons and must not be allowed to gain them.

    @ Kebby: if the West imposes sanctions then there is a response like yours; if it doesn’t then we will get…the same response: the West doesn’t care about the suffering of Africans, etc. In either case, blame the West, hate the West. Africans need to start taking responsibility for themselves and to break free of the mental shackles that cause them to see the West as cause of and solution to all of their problems. It was foolish and unwarranted Western sanctions against Ian Smith’s government that paved the way for the accession to power of the monster Mugabe. Africans insisted on and supported those sanctions to a man. They should now take some of the blame for the disaster in Zimbabwe today.

    No government has a right to slaughter its people or to unilaterally occupy/seize the territory of its neighbours. Those are the only circumstances that justify sanctions. In all other cases we should respect the sovereign right of each country to work out its destiny on its own terms.

  13. 13 Stefan
    March 4, 2008 at 16:06

    No they don’t, they punish innocent people for their leadership’s failings. I think when you show charity to innocent citizens you have a stronger bargaining position when dealing with the government. You can generate more good will with basic human kindness than you can by starving innocent people. (depriving them of medicine etc.)

  14. 14 Kwabena by email
    March 4, 2008 at 16:14

    If you wants to see the real sufferers of sanctions,lets take a look at myenmar,north korea, zimbabwe, iran and iraq under sadam. The leaders which are the targets are living happily with the little state funds whiles the ordinary citizens still live under oppression and poverty. Those rulers have little regard for travel bans. They are more than satisfied with life at home.

  15. March 4, 2008 at 16:43

    I thought sanctions were aimed at punishing countries but of this modern world they only make a country develop more than ever, I may say it’s one of the process in development.

  16. 16 Ibrahim from Tanzania by email
    March 4, 2008 at 17:11

    ok for the country like Iran sanctions doesnt work.Because Iran is Indepent country so its own her activities and decisions so even thd UN impose taugh sanctions against them will never work out.For the Iran to stop,America should be example,they should stop all her nuclear programmes and Iran would follow? otherwise the world will end,but Iranian Government will never do that.
    Ibrahim,from Tanzania

  17. March 4, 2008 at 17:23

    Sanctions only hurt the innocent and the poor – the leaders who are comitting the crimes are rich, they can survive through sanctions.
    Brittan’s way of dealing with Zimbabwe is also wrong – who is comitting the crime, the cricket team, or Mugabe.
    The only way to solve these issues is to go after the money – take the money from the rich greedy leaders and give it to the poor…like Robin Hood.

  18. 18 Will Rhodes
    March 4, 2008 at 18:09

    The simple and only answer is, no.

  19. 19 Fahad Khan
    March 4, 2008 at 18:18

    Here’s a Muslim voice for the commentator, the day that you place sanctions on Israel for having nuclear weapons, then you can expect Muslims to speak out on Iran or whoever. Until the double standards stop, why should any Muslim speak against Iran?

  20. 20 Fahad Khan
    March 4, 2008 at 18:22

    Is this going to be another case similar to where Madeline Albright said that the price “was worth it” when asked if the sanctions that killed 800,000 civilians in Iraq during the 90’s were worth the price?

    When you know it causes civilian misery on such a large scale, how can you justify doing something like this?

  21. 21 steve
    March 4, 2008 at 18:25

    Farad Khan: Israel isn’t a signatory of the non proliferation act AND israel doesn’t threaten to wipe nations off the map. I know it would be easier for you to destroy Israel didn’t have nuclear weapons. But they won’t commit national suicide because people like you hate Israel.

  22. 22 Josh On
    March 4, 2008 at 18:27

    These purported purpose of the sanctions is so hypocritical. The largest nuclear powers in the world telling a country which is undoubtedly one of the most likely targets of their missiles, that they can not follow their example. The best way for us to rid the world of nuclear weapons is for the people in countries which have such disgusting and dangerous objects to insist that their own governments get rid of them. A good place to start would be here in the U.S. – the only country to have actually used nuclear weapons in war. The sanctions are not just and can only cause more suffering – a mockery of real justice, and an affront to all of those really struggling to rid the world of nukes.

  23. 23 eric (aka eks321)
    March 4, 2008 at 18:29

    iran broke the camel’s back when they recently tested their intercontinental ballistic missle (icbm). up until that point russia was behind them, but the shock of seeing that icbm launch made russia realize that iran was on the edge of becoming a very dangerous threat. the world has been very forgiving of iran up until this point. the world offered huge incentives in 2006 for iran to put their nuclear program under outside supervision and give up their enrichment program. however; the nature of their program has been military from the beginning, so iran had no interest in having it controlled for civilian purposes only.

    iran’s claims of wanting this program for civilian purposes has been spurious from the beginning. they could generate more power, at a lower cost, than they will get from one nuclear plant by simply using the natural gas that they flare-off from their existing facilities.

    the iranian people and the ayatollahs do not like the world’s reaction to ahmadinejad’s recalcitrance, so sanctions will have a positive effect if they are strictly enforced. this will become apparent in the upcoming local iranian local elections.

  24. 24 Fahad Khan
    March 4, 2008 at 18:34

    I did not state that I hated Israel, don’t be so insecure.. I simply stated that Israel should be treated like every other country. If you think Israel has not threatened to wipe out anyone, last week they stated that they will commit a ‘holocaust’ (their words) in Gaza. Their response to Hezbollah rockets last year was to bomb power plants and tourist spots. They have wiped out Palestine, not threatened to do it, but have actually done it.

    Israel will never be destroyed, even without nuclear weapons. They have the largest and powerful (US financed) military in the Middle East. They still have ballistic missiles, F16s etc etc, so what can nuclear weapons do besides cause mass casulaties. On the other hand, Iran has said that they are not going for nuclear weapons but nuclear energy and technology. They have issued a fatwa saying nuclear weapons are against Islam.

    Your response is typical. You can’t rationally defend Israel’s actions so you attack the person making the statement.

    Why should there be one standard for Israel and another for everyone else? Israel has not signed the non-proliferation treaty..fine
    Then do you condemn them for the collective punishment they are inflicting on the people of Gaza, collective punishment is against international law. The UN has condemned them. I want to see if there is anything that Israel can do that will draw your condemnation.
    Or does everyone “hate Israel” like me?

  25. March 4, 2008 at 18:34

    This man who called to be given a compentent governmnet in iran is no more than a mouthpiece of empire. I have heard this carping of the empire before, and the call for intereference in the domestic affairs of nations is what is failing around the world. Weather you call it globalism or imperialism, this program has failed before, and is in the process of failing across the middle east.

    The great sin of the people of iran was to throw out our dictator. Castro did the same, and he just retired. Egypt and saudi arabia will soon follow suit.

    The present government is a distinct evolution from the western dominated regime of the shah, and the brutality of its secret police. Their evolution is not finished, but sanctions on iran will fail as they have with cuba.

    I believe that the chances are better for seeing saudi arabia and egypt fall out of the american sphere of influence than seeing iran come back in either through political or military means.


  26. 26 Chris
    March 4, 2008 at 18:39

    Who do we in the west think we are exactly? It is amazing to hear you talking about how Iran is not acting the way you want them to? Like they are little kids and we are the parents. What if the shoe was on the other foot? Sanctions, for the most part, DO NOT work. South Africa, Zimbabwe? Give me a break. Even if they may have partially worked, and there is no clear cut evidence they did, what about the other countries where it has been a disaster? Are those citizens expendable? Iraq rings a bell.

    Maybe we should re-think how we treat other countries, and stop talking down to them as children!

  27. 27 KMJUMBE
    March 4, 2008 at 18:40

    Sanctions imposed on individual member states of the UN only harm the integrity of the UN and its fabric in the end.

    As long as their are other nuclear armed states within the region, the people and government of Iran is more than right to development its uranium technologies to such a point that its people deem necessary. Instead of all this energy and time being directed at one nation-state, how about having those nuclear states that are armed to the teeth to disarm and/or be sanctioned if they fail to adhere to dismantling their programs. Either every nation-state with nuclear cash potential such have it or none. Period.

    Zimbabwe and British sanctions: Who cares if the cricket team cannot come to pitch. I applaud my mentor and brother Mr. Mugabe for all he has done for Africa, Africans and Zimbabwe. I only wish in retrospect that he would have taken more stricter measures to correct the systemic imbalance created in the economy under Ian Smith’s reign of terror. Where were the British then? How come they failed to contain its rogue brat who have run awry with sanctions then? Was it because he was white? Is this a veiled cover of British v. African racism? I would think Mr. Brown, et al. should spend more energy and time in their own domain. Afterall, more Northern Rocks and heaping them on the backs of its populace maybe be hiding under the carpet of the sitting room at number ten.

  28. 28 Shimon
    March 4, 2008 at 18:42

    I have this question for your guests: assuming that tougher sanctions are imposed against Iran and that they fail, ie, Iran does develop nuclear weapons – what then?

    What would the permanent members of the security council do then? Would Iran be facing war, given that it has threatened to obliterate Israel and has missiles that can reach European capitals?

    This situation sounds chillingly similar to the rise of Nazi Germany, and their massive rearmament that led to WW2.

    And we know what happened to Nazi Germany.

  29. 29 Eltayeb Elzain
    March 4, 2008 at 18:44

    Sanctions don’t work and will never work. Sancations kill civilians, especially childern, not governments.

    We need to have one standard for everyone, I don’t agree with any state to have nuclear weapons. Shame on the US and UN, stop the double standards.

  30. 30 Fahad Khan
    March 4, 2008 at 18:47

    Interesting, so Ian Smith’s government was not as bad as Robert Mugabe’s regime according to the speaker! I think only Americans and Europeans could agree with that statement. No African or Asian (or anyone from a country that was exploited by colonialism) would ever say that.

  31. 31 mehdi
    March 4, 2008 at 19:03

    sanctions do work. the Iranian regime is very suceptive to the sanctions but they are not enough on their own. they have to be complimented by a comprehensive political solution in particular by supporting the resistance of Iranian people.
    But I find it very ironic that the same resistance which has provided the best information on Iranian regime’s secret nuclear program has been blacklisted by the west. this contradiction should be resolved.

  32. 32 Mary, Free Town, Sierra Leone
    March 4, 2008 at 19:12

    Zimbabwe issue:
    Sanctions are futile unless there are targeting the land issue. There should be corrective measures not punitive.

  33. 33 steve
    March 4, 2008 at 19:56

    Farad Khan: HOw many more years in the future can you blame all of your problems on the west? One day you will have to accept responsibility.

  34. 34 kpellyhezekiah
    March 4, 2008 at 19:59

    santions do work in the long run. But how many people are prepared to were the democratic vest of patience until the desired effects begin to show? However, I wish to state my total disgust at the double standards that the US and Britain displays when it comes to upholding democratic principles. Just a forthnight ago, pres Bush said sports shouldn’t include politics when the issue of China’s internal democracy and their role in the Dafour in particular came up. The British olympics committee got its athletes to sign a memo preventing them from making any comments about China during the olympics. Why is Britain now saying the cricket team of Zimbabwe shouldn’t tour Britain? Should politics be allowed in sports now just because it is poor Zimbabwe and not mighty China? These double standards by countries such us Britain and the US are what is hampering the progress of democracy in the world. Shame unto these countries who put their parocuial interests before the general world struggle for democracy for all mankind everywhere. Once more a big shame unto all such countries.

  35. March 4, 2008 at 20:18

    I do not agree with Mugabe or Castro but sanctions never resolved anything. History has proved it with the boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

  36. 36 Monella, Trinidad & Tobago
    March 4, 2008 at 20:24

    I might have been inclined to agree with the writers who believe that punitive measures directed toward the ‘ordinary’ citizen are inherently unfair. However, international intervention on the level of sanctions that make the life of the individual (e.g. cricketers in Zimbabwe) uncomfortable may be what is needed to stimulate or provoke citizens within these troubled nations to take action against their oppressors. This is true democracy.

  37. March 4, 2008 at 21:41

    The Citizens of the USA and other World Countries must not know the very crimes of their own government. I don’t see any difference between Iran and the rest of the Worlds Countries.

    All want the people to behave along lines that empowers them with rights to commit crimes against humanity. They all commit crimes they deny. The id is perverted and exist to such extents citizens grasp at anything to stay alive and function as a thinking human being, even if it is a crime against their humanity.

  38. 38 Syed Hasan Turab
    March 4, 2008 at 22:16

    Sanction’s are better then militry actions, in Iran case sanctions may be understand as blackmail and might not be effective. This century and era based on knowledge & Iran knows this fact.

  39. 39 George USA
    March 4, 2008 at 23:38

    The Institute for International Economics in Washington D. C. has tracked 170 sanctions since WW1.

    They say sanctions have achieved the desired end in 25 to 50% of the time.

    So it is not a yes or no question.

    Sometimes they work, more often they do not, or at least do not work alone.

    The sanctions have to cause some discomfort and be more costly to the target of sanctions than those imposing sanctions.


    There are times when sanctions are the lesser of two evils.

    If you rocket Sudan you take the moral low road and achieve nothing.

    If you sanction Sudan you may achieve nothing, and may not even have a defined goal for the sanctions to achieve, but you do not have the “blow back” of sending rockets, and have made the


    Iran probably would not alter course from sanctions alone: they have too much oil production for that.

    But it may, coupled with other means, achieve part or all of a goal over time.

    As of today the US sanctions against Iran are stronger than the UN sanctions against them.

  40. 40 Douglas by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:40

    How can you expect Iran to lay down in the face of such hypocrisy? If Iran is interfering in Lebanon, and Iraq, well so is the US. If the the West truly wanted to see an end to the pursuit of nuclear weapons, it should offer to dismantle its own. I cannot blame Iran for wanting an adequate defensive detterent when the world’s most aggressive nation, the US. has just invaded and occupied one of its neighbours and continues to threaten them…


  41. 41 sulayman by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:41

    Certainly Sanction do not work because of the Inherent Dilemma of the United Nation Security Council. and if it does why not apply it to Israel over violation of many United Nation Security Resolution, or why not on United State over Iraqi Invasion?.

  42. 42 Steve by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:43

    Some commenter said that Iran has gone the “extra mile” to prove the peaceful nature of their nuclear program. To that commenter, I have pepsi on my monitor after listening to that. Does anyone know how best to clean it off?


  43. 43 Abdel by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:44

    How about negotiating? Is everyone forgetting that it is the P5+1 that is unwilling to negotiate?

    When negotiations began in 2003, Iran VOLUNTARILLY suspended uranium enrichment. Recall that it is when negotiations were not progressing when it was resumed. They have repeatedly agreed to meet to negotiate the nuclear program, but have said they will not suspend enrichment before. They do not want to give up their negotiating cards.

    Why is there a precondition of suspension of enrichment for negotiations? A precondition is an ultimatum and not conducive to the nature of negotiating.

    Please USA, sit down with Iran. We do not need another war.

    Save us, Barack

  44. 44 Tom in Oregon by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:45

    Yes, look at Cuba, US sanctions have prevented Cuba from being a successful part of the world economy, just as George F. Kennan wanted.

    But consider, Iran would be wise to develop their nuclear energy industry and sell their Oil to the nations who unwisely stay addicted to Oil. They’ll end up energy self sufficient and have barrels of cash, and the US will end up cashless and breathing oil exhaust fumes!


  45. 45 Denise in San Francisco
    March 5, 2008 at 10:46

    It is absurd to think that Iran will attack anyone with a nuclear weapon that it does not have. While on the other hand this issue is a distraction from the real problem: the massive use of weapons of mass destruction by the United States on a daily basis. Why is not the Security Council sanctioning the U.S.?

    One of your speakers says that Iran is interfering in Iraq. Maybe, but as I recall it is the United States who was the first that has interfered in the sovereign country of Iraq putting into play unconscionable death and destruction. O, yes, torture – how about Abu Grave, rendition, etc.

    San Francisco

  46. 46 kalypso - vienna,austria
    March 5, 2008 at 10:47

    what i just dont get is: why is iran perceived as so dangerous and no one says anything about the weapons of mass disctrtions of the US. why? who caused more damage with their weapons -the US or iran? why does iran get all these sanctions and nothing (not even much condemnation) happens to the US? of course, the US is more powerful … but still the US’ actions should at least be condemned more.
    kalypso – vienna,austria

  47. 47 Abdikadir from Somalia by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:48

    Do you think that It is illegal and unaceptable that the un sanction over iran?

  48. 48 Brett in Canada by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:49

    The US’ ridiculous embargo against Cuba hasn’t changed Castro’s mind in 46 years.. only hurt the citizens of that country. They didn’t do anything against Saddam.. only hurt his people.. Sanctions are pointless.

    Brett in Canada

  49. 49 Jeffrey by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:50

    I notice that all the people on your show are white expats. In Africa, politics are heavy on the cult of personality and the idea of tribal leadership. Old, powerful African leaders are seen as kings by many of their people, regardless of how they are marketed by the western press. Wake up to other cultures, guys!

    A South African in America.

  50. 50 Nathaniel by email
    March 5, 2008 at 10:51

    The sanctions against Zimbabwe is taking it tolls on the people. Is there no other means to pressure Mugabe to heed to democracy? Where is this leading Zimbabwe to? Well there are other examples there is every indication that the international community cannot achieve anything through sanctions. I do think it is time for Mugabe should be engaged in talks that are aimed at understanding his ideologies.
    The sanction on the cricket team will negatively affect Mugabe but it is not enough to end just there.
    More has to be done- lets make sure that every nation including south Africa is involved in sanctions against Zimbabwe.
    Cape town, South Africa

  51. 51 John in Sudan by email
    March 5, 2008 at 11:01

    Yes, sanction imposition in an alternative to deal with unfriendly States.
    I support the UNSC vote for tougher sanctions on Iran.
    The ban shouldn’t restrict only five officails from travelling. But, this must include the president himself.
    The world must stand for the sanctions because it stood for the sanctions against Liberia.
    The next step must therefore be a military operation.

    Yambio/South Sudan

  52. 52 Janet by email
    March 5, 2008 at 11:06

    Given that there isn’t a long list of alternatives to UN sanctions I don’t see what can be done short of applying the long arm of cowboy justice so effectively being employed by George Yippie-ty-aye-yay Bush in that volatile region as we speak.

    As to kicking out a few athletes because of Mugabe’s senile grip on power, we might also want to consider the oppression of half the population in places like Saudi Arabia as an exclusionary factor. Any country that denies women equal rights ought to be on the list of ineligible participants.

    The failure of UN sanctions in the past is due to the ease with which they have been side-stepped. The UN, not unlike its predecessor, The League of Nations, fails not because it is an ill-conceived entity but because it is too weak.


  53. March 5, 2008 at 11:50

    Dear Fahad Khan,
    Steve did not attack you, he argued for a point of view, and he’s not calling you “insecure”. I’m sure Steve will be able to rationally defend Israel’s actions, even if you don’t agree with his rationale.

    As for the “holocaust” comment of the Israeli deputy minister, his spokesman said the word should (in this instance) have been translated as “disaster” even though it could also be translated as “holocaust”:
    But obviously each side will spin it their own way.

    Anyway, please argue your point, but don’t get personal.

  54. March 5, 2008 at 14:03

    I have very mixed views about sanctions. On the one hand the world need to do something to express it’s opposition when countries like Iran start making moves to arm themselves with nuclear weapons.

    On the other hand we have to acknowledge that sanctions don’t have a very good history of actually achieving anything, certainly over short timescales.

    Look at North Korea and Cuba for example which have both been subject to sanctions for a long time but it hasn’t really changed what they did. It’s hard to know what else the UN can do though – certainly the UN is unable to weild any real miltary power.

  55. 55 Fahad Khan
    March 5, 2008 at 16:02

    I would like to make a final comment on this issue.

    First of all, Steve, or should i call you Stere since you keep referring to me as Farad, if the West does something wrong, I am simply pointing it out. If your comment was in response to my comment on Zimbabwe, the whole land redistribution issue would not have come up if it wasn’t for colonialism. This is not blaming the West, its simply stating a fact. Similarly, apartheid would not have taken place if it wasn’t for colonialism.
    As far as Iran goes, I don’t see why they should be able to have nuclear technology if they wish to have it. I don’t understand why you think they are after nuclear weapons and then assume that they will fire these weapons at Israel. Everyone in the world knows Israel has nuclear weapons and if Iran fired theirs, I’m sure Israel would do the same, so what would be the point? As far as “the destruction” of Israel goes, Israel has the most powerful army in the Middle east and is supported by the US. They have not lost one war since 1948 and in the process taken over East Jerusalem/the West Bank, Shebaa farms, Gaza etc. Is it really realistic to say Israel will be destroyed if they don’t have nuclear weapons? They did not need them in any other war but if they did, they already have them now anyway. They have threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities many times, so doesn’t Iran have a right to defend itself as well? Iran has repeatedly said that they are not interested in nuclear weapons and Ayatollah Khameini issued a fatwa saying nuclear weapons are not permissible in Islam.
    As for the comment by someone saying I am manipulating what was said by an Israeli official when he said they will commit a holocaust in Gaza, here’s the link:
    The minister used the word shoah, which means holocaust but later said he meant shoah used as the word catastrophe. (So he’s still saying he will bring a catastrophe to Gaza). I am not maniupulating anything, I’m simply stating what was on the news. The issue here was sanctions, I am simply stating that if you are going to put sanctions on a country for doing something, then apply those sanctions to every country that does the same thing. Personally I am against sanctions because they have always hurt civilans. And I would like to bring up Madeline Albright’s comments again, because it shows that the US in particular does not care who they hurt with sanctions. Her response to Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes was “We think it was worth it” when Stahl mentioned that sanctioned in Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, half of whom were children.
    If the blame for that doesn’t go on the West, then who does it go to?

  56. March 5, 2008 at 23:24

    At the time of sanction against Iraq and before striking on it allegation was also levelled against Iraq that had weapons of ”mass destruction”but world saw american forces could not dig out the weapons prohibited under the international law.

    same drama is being played in regard to Iran,Central Investigation Agency have reported that Iran is not manufacturing nuclear weapons its nuclear policy for only domestic need specially for electricity it is genrated for social purposes but some power are not ready to believe in under a negative approach.

    THE third set of saction has embarrassed Iran but stick on its stance because it is really not involved in nuclear arms race.

    I am agree with the view that every country have legal right to defend its country and avoide making prohibited weapons of mass destruction but before millitsry action against it should be proper investigate and not bloodletting, innocent civilians of Iraq,who is responsable for killing lacs of innocent people including womwen and childern.

    I come to conclusion that some powers don’t want peace for people in the world they want bloodshed and playing with human bloods under negative designs.occupation on oil sources is their destination.

    For example, Iraq had no weapons of Mass Destruction but occupied,
    Afghanistan repeadly denied not involving in 9/11 incident but occupied,
    now Iran is crying he is not ambition of making nuclear weapon but they disbelive and busy in hatching conspiracies to strike on.

    U.N. should play its crucial role and save the region form expected war as efforts are being made, it would be too dengrous to control and may change in to the last crucial in nature.

    Negotiation is the best way to resolve the disputed issues. Iran ,if is enriching uranium for domestice purposes it must expose everything to the IAEA.it is must adopte the better way to save the whole world from the world war

  57. March 6, 2008 at 09:30

    Hi Rabiya,
    Soaring interest rates have plummeted in Iran since the third round of UN imposed sanctions, which is a good thing. Much of hard currency income is finding its way back to the home market, causing a drop in cut-throat interest rates. The Iranian Administration has been obliged to unload its windfall of petrodollars in the financial district and Tehran bazaar since it needs local currency. International banking institutions were already reluctant to deal with Iranian banks but UN Resolution 1803 has made things worse.
    Iran is in the third year of UN sanctions, over and above the general sanctions imposed in 1980, time of the US hostage crisis. The energy sector – upstream, downstream oil and gas sectors – probably bare the brunt of the burden. These high capital investment industries rely on oil majors for cash and latest technology; but oil conglomerates operate on long-term basis and require five to 20 year contracts, which Iran can’t supply. Iran has become a high risk investment proposition.
    Nationwide parliamentary elections are due on March 14th.
    Campaigning for the 290 seat legislature begins today. The National Trust Party, established two years ago, is complaining that 60% to 70% of its candidates have been barred from the race. Reformists and Fundamentalists alike are eager to score big, but neither has a clean slate or proper mandate. Parliament will plod on, when it convenes, – with an average of 4% of women delegates. Before then, the nation must choose from a field of 4,700 possible candidates. Thirty candidates, chosen at hazard, – without clear-cut constituencies – will represent Tehran, a sprawling city of 12 million. The remaining 260 candidates will come from the provinces and observe proceedings in the capital, occasionally casting their ballot on issues which doesn’t concern them.
    The Reformist camp, traditionally supporters of former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami who came to power in 1997 when oil prices dipped to US $10 to $12 per barrel, promise that they will show the Fundamentalists how to run the country now that oil prices have reached US $100 per barrel: But who actually is running the country right now?

  58. 58 George USA
    March 9, 2008 at 10:09


    On the use of words related to Gaza and Israel.

    Those who seek the overthrow of Israel through the use of the people in Gaza as pawns

    have reached the point of the “Little Boy who Cried Wolf”.

    The boy cried “Wolf” over and over until no one believed him.

    The wolf ate him up.

  59. 59 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 9, 2008 at 00:38

    Sanctions work if they are imposed on the leadership
    and have limited consequence on the common citizen
    in the country..

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

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