Time for behavior adjustment – Ours


Daniel M Pourkesali
by Daniel M Pourkesali

I was encouraged by the title of Trita Parsi's latest commentary 'Why diplomacy and sanctions don't mix' only to be disappointed by the narrative which unfortunately gives credence to the prevailing attitude in the United States that we alone hold the moral high ground to arbitrarily subject any country we choose to punitive sanctions for our own self interest.

Over two-thirds of all sanctions since 1945 have been initiated by the U.S., three-quarters of which have involved unilateral action without significant participation by any other country. They are often discussed and portrayed as a form of diplomacy and an alternative to war even though they’re no less an act of aggression with very heavy human costs.

Instead of categorically accepting the 'carrot and stick' scheme as an appropriate foreign policy tool and engaging in the 'politically correct' argument over which should come first, we should expose the futility of this barbaric practice as an appallingly ineffective instrument in modifying the conduct of the governments it targets and reveal the horrible human suffering it creates. Over five hundred thousand children under the age of five perished as a direct result of U.S. and UNSC imposed sanctions on the so-called “dual use” materials and equipments related to nutrition, health and education in the 12 years prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Any self-respecting person of Iranian heritage should be outraged by the fact that similar sanctions are now under consideration and several have already been imposed on Iran through coercion for engaging in a legitimate activity under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) let alone advise the incoming president to use them as some kind of leverage that can be done away with "in return for significant behavioral changes".

Article 4 of the NPT states that "Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose" and there are no mentions of ‘bad behavior’ in the United Nations Charter as grounds for subjecting a country to disciplinary action. Article 39 of the UN Charter provides that the Security Council can take punitive action against a member state only if it finds that a 'threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression' exists, otherwise imposition of such sanctions are against internationally accepted laws.

Forcing Iran to give up its right under the NPT while granting a pass to nuclear powered states to continue violating the terms of Articles 1, 3, 4 and 6, is an abuse of power by the United Nations and in clear violation of its own Charter.

To succeed with his pro-diplomacy agenda, president-elect Barack Obama must give up all attempts at gaining any leverage over Iran through sanctions because no "combination of incentives and disincentives" or any meaningful negotiation to resolve differences can even begin until all illegal sanctions already imposed are removed and Iran's nuclear dossier is returned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Many of us who voted for Obama saw him as someone who could finally restore America’s tarnished global image, but real change can only come in form of altering that old supercilious Washington mindset and prevent it from transitioning to the new administration.


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I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Hoooray Professor Keshavarz is here! I loved your book

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

"jasmine and stars : reading more than lolita in tehran"

Thank you for your work in education and the anti-war community too. 


Who will be hurt by sanctions

by Fatemeh Keshavarz (not verified) on

There are two important facts here regardless of our political positions. First, sanctions do not affect governments. They hurt people, ordinary people. Second, negotiations can be effective only if they are carried out in good faith. That means all threats and preconditions must be removed. And every aspect of the disputed issues must be on the table for discussion.


Those Who Sepak in Bahalf or 70m Iranians?!!

by Anonymous500 (not verified) on

Please don't speak in behalf of 70 million Iranians; for an educated and relatively sophisticated man of your stature, it is almost provioncail for you to take upon yourslef to be giving these type of childish slogans that "Iranian nation blah, blah, blah"!!

You are one person enttield to your one man's opinion, but you are not in a position to speake in behaf of the rest of those who know the legacy of the "Tarikh-e Siyah Estesmaar" in Iran and of and those who have been in the past, and are now, at its service.


Thank You Daniel for catching this

by Q on

I don't know why Parsi is drifting toward the right again. What is it with progressives wanting to snatch defeat from the Jaws of victory.

David ET: Please. Don't tell fables. No one will respect Iran's "rights" if it loses them now. Can we get back any rights lost under the Ghajars? Do you think the Europeans and Americans are doing charity work for Iran? Aren't the governments (US, UK, Russia, China) sitting in judgment of Iran responsible for far more crimes against humanity? Please... get real.

You are a respectable voice here, so I ask you to please do not let your own hatred of the IRI, destroy Iranian rights.

David ET

Saretoono dobareh garm kardan!

by David ET on

This whole nuclear issue is a made up subject by Islamic Republic to distract from real issues of Iran.

They have always created frictions with outside to save their regime inside.

We should not be concerned with the matter  of Iran's right to nuclear power until after Iran itself is out of hands of Mullahs. Why aren't they so concerned about making oil refinaries that we so badly need now?

Iran has the right to nuclear enregy but hostage taker, trrorist supporter Mullahs can not be trusted with  enrichment. See what they have done to Iranians with the power that they already have, God Forbid nuclear!


Fred: It is interesting that

by sickofiri (not verified) on

Fred: It is interesting that the de facto IRI lobbyists feign ignorance of America's core foreign policy principles. If Richard Hasse doesn't want a nuke-armed Iran then CASMII et al are in deep doodoo!

They are starting to believe their own propaganda which is dangerously grounded in hubris.

Soon, they will call Obama a right winger and a zionist too!hahaha


very troublesome

by IRANdokht on

What I don't understand is how this biased stance of the US and the UN can be justified and not much spoken of, except only in blogs. Why is it ok for some of the more hostile and terrorist-harboring states to have nuclear bombs and Iran can't even have a peaceful nuclear power plant? As Dr Ala mentioned Iran has not attacked any country and I hope that they can make this argument clearly. 

In reality, the fundamentals of US foreign policy do not change drastically with the change of the President. They might have a different approach but not in a major way. We have the hope that President Obama would not take on a cowboy style approach, but I am afraid they do not see the sanctions as the suffering and hardship on the people that they actually present.  I also believe that these sanctions are damaging and a cruel aggressive action. Iranian people have been through so much already.

Thank you Daniel for the well written article and for speaking up against the sanctions on our people.


Mohammad Ala

Iranian national interests . . .

by Mohammad Ala on

Regardless of who is in power, Iranian national interests are not negotiable in a hostile environment. The expression of "carrot and stick," is not appropriate when it comes to national interests, especially when biased rules are forced on Iran.  Iranians do not trust countries that have used nuclear arm(s) or have nuclear arms hidden in their bunkers.     Iranians must contend that they have not attacked any country and do not have any intention of doing so in the future.  Our agreement with Saddam was torn out in front of the world media. How can Iranians trust those who armed Saddam to negotiate?