The EU is set to impose new sanctions on Iran

The European Union is set to increase sanctions on Iran on Monday after failed negotiations over Iran’s contested nuclear development program. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they will continue to increase pressure on Iran until negotiations succeed. EU Foreign Policy head Catherine Ashton said sanctions that were imposed in July are "quite clearly having ...

JOHN THYS/AFP/GettyImages
JOHN THYS/AFP/GettyImages
JOHN THYS/AFP/GettyImages

The European Union is set to increase sanctions on Iran on Monday after failed negotiations over Iran's contested nuclear development program. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they will continue to increase pressure on Iran until negotiations succeed. EU Foreign Policy head Catherine Ashton said sanctions that were imposed in July are "quite clearly having an effect" and the heightened sanctions are "to persuade Iran to come to the table." Riots broke out earlier this month due to the dramatic fall of Iran's currency, the rial, which is down by about 80 percent since the beginning of the year. The new sanctions are expected to target Iran's banks, as well as trade and gas imports. Additionally, 30 more companies will be subject to an EU assets freeze. Meanwhile, the United States and EU are working to close loopholes in sanctions on Iran after discovering that Tehran has been covertly using offshore tax havens in order to maintain crude oil shipments. The National Iranian Tanker Co. (NITC), Iran's largest oil-vessel operator, has reportedly registered ownership of some of its tankers in Central America. The NITC claims it is privatized but the United States classifies it as a government entity. Despite severe sanctions, U.S. exports to Iran have risen by 32 percent this year up to $199.5 million. Exports were comprised primarily of wheat and other grains, dairy products, and medical, dental, and surgical products. However, some humanitarian goods have declined including medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

The European Union is set to increase sanctions on Iran on Monday after failed negotiations over Iran’s contested nuclear development program. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they will continue to increase pressure on Iran until negotiations succeed. EU Foreign Policy head Catherine Ashton said sanctions that were imposed in July are "quite clearly having an effect" and the heightened sanctions are "to persuade Iran to come to the table." Riots broke out earlier this month due to the dramatic fall of Iran’s currency, the rial, which is down by about 80 percent since the beginning of the year. The new sanctions are expected to target Iran’s banks, as well as trade and gas imports. Additionally, 30 more companies will be subject to an EU assets freeze. Meanwhile, the United States and EU are working to close loopholes in sanctions on Iran after discovering that Tehran has been covertly using offshore tax havens in order to maintain crude oil shipments. The National Iranian Tanker Co. (NITC), Iran’s largest oil-vessel operator, has reportedly registered ownership of some of its tankers in Central America. The NITC claims it is privatized but the United States classifies it as a government entity. Despite severe sanctions, U.S. exports to Iran have risen by 32 percent this year up to $199.5 million. Exports were comprised primarily of wheat and other grains, dairy products, and medical, dental, and surgical products. However, some humanitarian goods have declined including medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

Syria

Tensions between Turkey and Syria have increased with both banning all respective aircraft from their air space. The escalation was prompted by Turkey’s forcing down a Syrian jet last week that Syria maintained was a passenger aircraft headed to Russia, while Turkey said there was illegal cargo on the plane. Armenia agreed to land a cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid to Syria for investigation in Turkey. Meanwhile, according to the Turkish disaster management agency (AFAD), the number of Syrians taking refuge in camps in southern Turkey has exceeded 100,000. Turkey has said it would struggle to accommodate over 100,000 refugees, and has been calling for the United Nations to build camps in a "safe zone" within Syria’s borders. Over 348,000 people have been registered as refugees in Syria’s neighboring countries, and many more have fled and remained unregistered. Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian government air forces of dropping cluster bombs in the past week, primarily in fighting over a highly contested highway running from Aleppo to Damascus, and the strategic town of Maarat al-Numan, which was recently captured by opposition forces. Cluster bombs, indiscriminate scattershot munitions, have been banned by most countries because of the severe threat they pose on civilians. As the conflict in Syria rages on, U.N. and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met with Iranian officials appealing for help to implement a ceasefire for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Brahimi hopes a ceasefire would open up space for a political settlement to the conflict.

Headlines  

Arguments & Analysis

Israel, the UAV’ (Aner Shalev, Haaretz)

"But the drone affair is not only evidence of Israeli arrogance – it is also a sad metaphor for our conduct in recent years. Under Netanyahu’s rule, Israel appears more and more like a small, unmanned aerial vehicle. There is no sense of direction, no sense of any destination or that there is anyone at the wheel. Indeed, the feeling is just the opposite: It is one of constant confusion, of being dragged about by sudden gusts of wind, of changes in direction to the point of dizziness.

The examples are innumerable: from freezing the settlements at the beginning of the Netanyahu government to their accelerated development afterward; from the moderate Bar-Ilan speech about two states for two peoples to the portrayal of that solution as stupid and childish; and the unbridled attacks against our only partner, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The early elections that were declared, canceled and now declared again have turned the dizziness into a migraine. Israel has never been run in as frenetic, inconsistent and irresponsible a manner as during Netanyahu’s second term.

One thing must be made clear: The Israeli plane has no pilot. Instead of a prime minister, we have a dangerous vacuum, one that is filled at any given time with some momentary whim. The question is, why does a pilot who has long since abandoned his plane insist on returning to it for a third time?"

Transparency, Torture and Rats: The 9/11 Hearings Resume’ (Daphne Eviatar, Huffington Post)

"Transparency will be a big issue this week, if the hearing goes forward. Not only the detainees’ defense lawyers but 14 news organizations and the ACLU are expected to argue that the government can’t continue to muzzle the defendants by claiming all statements about their treatment in U.S. custody are classified. That’s especially important in a death penalty case, where the prisoners’ treatment in custody could be considered "mitigating evidence" — evidence that weighs against their being executed.

Prosecutors also want to keep secret information that’s not classified but, the government says, would nonetheless be "detrimental to the public interest" if released. The prosecutors have also secretly asked the judge for other rulings, but the documents filed with the court aren’t being made publicly available, so it’s not clear what the government is requesting.

The other critical question to be argued is whether the U.S. Constitution even applies at Guantanamo Bay. You would think that question would have been resolved in the nearly 11 years since President George W. Bush first created the military commissions. (This is their third incarnation.) But you’d be wrong. No court has ever ruled definitively whether and to what extent the U.S. Constitution applies at Gitmo, other than to say that the detainees there can’t be denied the Constitutional right to habeas corpus: that is, the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. federal court."

By Mary Casey

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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