対イラン制裁 強化を疑惑払拭につなげよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 30, 2012)
Tougher sanctions could force Iran to change nuclear policy
対イラン制裁 強化を疑惑払拭につなげよ(6月29日付・読売社説)

The United States and European countries have little option but to strengthen sanctions pressure on Iran for rebuffing efforts by the international community to clarify suspicions about its nuclear program. In parallel with this move, it is necessary to seek a solution by tenaciously pushing for dialogue with Iran.

On Thursday, it became possible, after a six-month grace period, for the United States to invoke financial sanctions with the aim of curbing Iran's oil exports. The U.S. government now can bar financial institutions of countries that do not significantly reduce imports of Iranian oil from dealing with U.S. banks.

In cooperation with the United States, the European Union also will totally ban imports of Iranian oil from Sunday.

Both sanctions are designed to curb Iran's oil exports--a crucial revenue source. They will deal a stinging blow to Iran.

The United States and its European allies decided to take these measures after several rounds of talks between six nations--the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany--and Iran held from April to June failed to produce any substantial results.


Ball in Tehran's court

To prevent Iran from converting enriched uranium into material that could be used in a nuclear weapon, the six countries pressed Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and transfer enriched uranium it possesses out of the country. Tehran rejected these requests.

Iran also has refused to comply with requests by the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect several suspect nuclear facilities.

As long as Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons, it must take concrete actions to dispel suspicions about its nuclear program.

Iran's oil exports were already falling before Washington and European countries invoked tougher sanctions, and this is hurting the Iranian economy. This fall was the result of Japan and the EU cutting their proportion of imports of Iranian oil and making up for this shortfall with oil from Saudi Arabia and other nations.

India, South Korea, Turkey and South Africa also have cut imports of Iranian oil.

As the global economy has slowed due to factors such as credit uncertainty in Europe, the tight oil supply-demand balance has been eased and oil prices, which temporarily surged, have been pulling back since May.


Israel should hold fire

It is somewhat uncertain how China, the largest importer of Iranian oil, will react. Nevertheless, Iran, which relies heavily on oil revenue, is feeling the squeeze. Its economy has been deteriorating as inflation runs wild.

The United States and European nations should actively seek talks with Iran, especially now that the sanctions have proven to have had some effect.

We are concerned that a military strike by Israel against Iran could become more of a realistic possibility unless the international community can find a lead to clearing up the suspicions swirling around Tehran's nuclear program.

The use of force would throw the Middle East into chaos and hammer the global economy. We urge Israel to exercise self-restraint and not attack Iran, but rather watch calmly whether sanctions will force a change in Tehran's policy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2012)
(2012年6月29日01時12分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-01 07:38 | 英字新聞

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