Sanction Busters

Ludwig von Gress

Recently we had on NNUS an item about “sanctions” by the League of Nations against Italy in 1935, which reminded me of an article in the Jerusalem Post about a significant increase in US – Iran trade since the beginning of the “sanctions” against Iran. I do not recall whether that “humanitarian” trade quadrupled or just doubled, but you may be surprised what today a word “health” can mean. (And that without any help from that Macquarie dictionary wise-woman.)


There was a mention there of the democratic Czechoslovakia’s rush to supply arms (29 wagons) to fascist Italy to beat the sanctions which also brought out some memories. It is not generally known that the landlocked Czechoslovakia had her own ocean-going fleet, always put to good use (the end -user certificates not needed) both before WW II by the democratic state and after the 1948 putsch by the Communist rulers at the direction of Soviet Union in the interest of world peaceful coexistence. So at one stage of the struggle for peace Communist Czechoslovakia owned and operated five ocean going vessels – Republika, Julius Fucik, Lidice, Mir and Dukla… I am sorry to say that nothing much changed in Havel/Klaus velvet republic – [Czech Arms for Al Qaeda], nor for that matter in Putin’s Russia – [Fog of Chaos – Loose nukes]


Later, not managing to stop Italy, we had economic sanctions against that horrible South Africa, the outcome of which was not only that South Africa became most prosperous African country to which just about every third black African in colonialism and apartheid free country pined to migrate, but also that South Africa (with Israel’s help) produced atomic weapons. Those, thankfully, were dismantled and passed to Israel prior to surrendering the power to the majority of population in a hope of avoiding a bloodshed. (With the anti-apartheid forces firmly in control since 1994, South Africa’s [annual murder rate] for commercial farmers shows a near 50 percent rise to an average rate of some 290 per 100,000 a year in the five years to 2011)

Some countries take sanctions more seriously than others – that’s why Australian made vehicles were neatly pushed out of Africa by Germany’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen. The Australian workers’ sacrifice for their black brothers in need was in vain; according to The Economist of 20th October, 2012 – South Africa’s Gini coefficient – the best-known measure of inequality, in which 0 is the most equal and 1 the least – was 0.63 in 2009. In 1993 it was 0.59. After 18 years of full democracy, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. (Australia 0.35)


The sanctions against Iran are supposed to stop it from developing nuclear weapons. Luckily for us, Israel is not Iran’s friend and Chinese, Russians and Pakistanis are, to put it mildly, less efficient. I doubt that any delays are due to the plethora of the United Nations resolutions:

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696 – passed on 31 July 2006. Demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and threatened sanctions.

  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 – passed on 23 December 2006. Made mandatory for Iran to suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and cooperate with the IAEA, imposed sanctions banning the supply of nuclear-related materials and technology, and froze the assets of key individuals and companies related to the program.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 – passed on 24 March 2007. Imposed an arms embargo and expanded the freeze on Iranian assets.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803 – passed on 3 March 2008. Extended the asset freezes and called upon states to monitor the activities of Iranian banks, inspect Iranian ships and aircraft, and to monitor the movement of individuals involved with the program through their territory.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1835 – Passed in 2008.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 – passed on 9 June 2010. Banned Iran from participating in any activities related to ballistic missiles, tightened the arms embargo, travel bans on individuals involved with the program, froze the funds and assets of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and recommended that states inspect Iranian cargo, prohibit the servicing of Iranian vessels involved in prohibited activities, prevent the provision of financial services used for sensitive nuclear activities, closely watch Iranian individuals and entities when dealing with them, prohibit the opening of Iranian banks on their territory and prevent Iranian banks from entering into relationship with their banks if it might contribute to the nuclear program, and prevent financial institutions operating in their territory from opening offices and accounts in Iran.

..nor to various unilateral embargoes carefully designed to feed the wolf of Israel’s disapproval and save the sheep of lucrative international trade.

European Union sanctions, just as anything the EU does, are a sick joke.

Mr Ottolenghi, the Italian-born former director of the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, says that European companies are abiding by the EU sanctions but the Iranian workarounds to the European sanctions are numerous and ingenious, noting a relatively simple Iranian trick: trading with Europe through Turkey, a preferred trade partner of the EU and a country that Iranians may enter without a travel visa.

As Iran’s trade with the EU plummets, its trade with Turkey is reaching record levels: $17.52 billion in the first eight months of 2012 compared to $15 billion in 2011.

It stood at a mere $1 billion in 2000, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Iran is now Turkey’s third-largest trade partner and main country for exports.

Part of the exports may be proscribed European goods that Iran is buying from Europe through Turkish front companies that are set up and run by Iranians with Turkish nationality on behalf of the Iranian government. In response to EU sanctions, Iran is transferring business to companies in Ukraine, Taiwan and Japan, among other countries.

Just as European sanctions may be encouraging Turkey-Iran trade relations, they also may drive Iran increasingly to rely on Hezbollah for money laundering and purchases. Hezbollah is not blacklisted anywhere in Europe except in the Netherlands.

By sanctioning Iran and not Hezbollah, the European Union is virtually inviting Iran to do business through hundreds if not thousands of Hezbollah-affiliated agents all over the continent,” said Wim Kortenoeven, a former Dutch lawmaker and ex-Middle East researcher for the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel in The Hague.

According to the foreign policy expert President Obama, there is still room for diplomacy. Unfortunately, that feel good thing – seeming, not doing – hypocrisy – is not a recent invention, as I reminded you.

In the meantime, the sanction busters carry on:

Vienna, Nov 15, 2012 – (Reuters) – Iran could soon increase uranium enrichment in an underground nuclear plant, diplomats say, a development that may further complicate efforts to resolve peacefully a dispute over Tehran’s atomic ambitions.

Iran has nearly finished installing centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment plant buried deep inside a mountain and is believed to be in a position in the near future to significantly step up production there of material that could be used for bombs if processed further, they said.

“They should be able to (increase production) within a few weeks,” one diplomat accredited to the Vienna-based U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday.

Fordow is of particular concern for the West as Iran uses the facility to refine uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, a short technical step from bomb-grade material.

About Ludwig von Gress

Born in communist Europe, interested in defence matters on a macro scale, with a cavalry “devil may care spirit” from his grandfather and cautious effectiveness of asymmetric warfare approach from his guerilla father. He sometimes despairs that he may be the only one taking the defence of Australia seriously.
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7 Responses to Sanction Busters

  1. tom's foolery says:

    It all is just a big joke for consumption by uneducated populus.

  2. Milan says:

    …and they balame the end of the World on Mayan calendar….a good Czech slogan: “Kdo nekrade neni Cech”–it does not translate.

  3. GI friend says:

    We make the same mistakes over and over again. One day they’ll fatal and final.

  4. Free Mantle says:

    Sanction dogs barks and the nuclear caravan goes on and on…

  5. sin liter says:

    Iran is having a good laugh, and Obama, just between him and Michelle, also.

  6. market rules says:

    Greed, greed, glorious greed.

  7. H. Hopps says:

    Sanctions, like prohibitions, simply mean bigger profits. Iran is laughing.

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