Debate over Iran sanctions threatens to split the Security Council
Foreign Policy / Colum Lynch

The diplomatic maneuvering is going into high gear as the United States and its allies seek to pass sanctions on Iran and come up against resistance not just from China but from some less obvious antagonists, principally Brazil, Lebanon, and Turkey. As the debate heats up, the potential for a sharply divided vote on a sanctions resolution is increasing -- an outcome unlikely to please anyone.

According to U.N. diplomats, Lebanon has made it clear that it will not be in a position to support any sanctions resolution against Iran, which has provided military and political support to the military group Hezbollah, an influential faction in the government.

In a show of defiance, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made a rare public appearance in Damascus with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. "Lebanon for internal reasons is unlikely to vote for a sanctions resolution," a senior diplomat said. "I suppose they would rather avoid taking a clear yes-or-no stand on this issue."

Turkey and Brazil have also been hesitant to back sanctions against Iran. In November, the two countries abstained on a vote by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) censoring Iran for its secret construction of a nuclear facility in Qom. U.... >>>

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