A recent AFP article reveals the growing frustration of Russia and China in Iran’s attitude toward compliance with the IAEA. Traditionally dependable allies of Iran, both Russia and China supported the IAEA resolution on Nov. 26 censuring on Iran due for its undisclosed nuclear facility in Qom. This has led some to believe there may be a chance for another round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.

“Russia supports the idea of sanctions against Iran,” said Fyodor Lukianov, editor of the Russian foreign policy journal Russia in Global Affairs.
“The real question will be ‘what kind of sanctions’? There will be deep disagreement, and Russia will not support very tough sanctions like those sought by the United States,” he warned.

But for its part, China is not willing even to go that far.

China, which relies on Iran for oil imports, has made no public change of position, and experts warned that while it might appear to support a tougher sanctions regime it would work behind the scenes to weaken it.
“China has joined to put pressure on Tehran. In Western eyes this is progress, but this is not sanctions,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at the People’s University of Beijing.
“China’s position on sanctions on Iran is generally to dilute sanctions. I have not seen any indication that China is willing to put severe sanctions on Tehran. China still has huge energy cooperation with Iran.”

Russia and China play a vital role in any effort to influence Iran’s behavior, and the West would do well to remember that a multilateral approach is the only way to go.

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