The United Nations Security Council has passed a new, tougher Iran sanctions regime by a vote of 12-2, with Brazil and Turkey voting against and Lebanon abstaining. This will not create enough pressure to end Iran’s nuclear recalcitrance, but it’s a significant achievement nonetheless. It send a strong message to the Iranian people that the world–even friends like Russia and China–considers their government an international outlaw. That means something; it will have an impact on the growth and depth of the political opposition movement (and may eventually sway some of the crucial bazaaris, whose businesses may be affected by the sanctions, against the Revolutionary Guards’ dictatorship). We’ll see, over time, if Iran responds to diplomatic pressure; it often has done so in the past.
The no votes by Brazil and Turkey are a matter of concern and sadness. Obviously, those two emerging powers aren’t feeling too pleased that their lame bid at nuclear diplomacy with Iran fell flat. They should be included–indeed, they should be front and center–when Iran is ready to return to the table; indeed, their initiative could be the start of the next round of negotiations. They could be valuable intermediaries between Iran and the rest of the world.
This is not a triumph of diplomacy, but it is a successful diplomatic step taken by the Obama Administration. I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran decides, before long, that this isolation is too costly.