Despite moves by Iran to defuse tension over it’s nuclear programme the five nuclear powers plus Germany are pushing for new sanctions. Kate Hudson detects double standards.

nuclear symbolTwo days ago, Iran, Brazil and Turkey agreed a landmark deal whereby Iran will send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor.

To many who have been anxiously watching the increasing tension around the Iranian nuclear programme over the past few years, this seemed like a constructive development.

In fact, a similar deal was proposed only last year, by the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – plus Germany, who have been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Yet hard on the heels of this major step, yesterday the so-called P5 plus 1 tabled proposals for new sanctions against Iran.

But why? If they are concerned that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons – which Iran denies – then the crucial factor is to ensure that Iran does not highly enrich uranium. This new deal is a big step in that direction.

Not surprisingly, Brazil and Turkey have urged the Security Council to give the deal a chance to work. But Hillary Clinton has been dismissive, suggesting it is an attempt to ‘deflect pressure’. It seems to me more like an attempt to solve the problem in a constructive fashion.

It is particularly significant that this is taking place while the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks are still ongoing in New York. In fact, this push for sanctions is not going down well there.

According to CND delegates now at the NPT, ‘many countries think that the fuel exchange deal was an honest attempt by Brazil, Turkey and even Iran to help the NPT Conference, clear potential obstacles out of the way and facilitate more constructive engagement.’ But it may now be that the Obama administration has blown that chance.

And there is now an increasing feeling – which the P5 plus 1 do not seem to understand – that Iran is being unfairly pressured over its enrichment programme. After all, the fact remains that the programme is not in violation of the NPT. And according to NPT participants, this view is not only held by the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement, of which Iran is a member, but by others as well.

Whatever the US administration’s motivations for pushing for sanctions, whether to appear tough to a domestic audience, or to press some other agenda in the middle east, it is not going down well with the majority of the world’s states. Double standards rarely do.

Kate Hudson is Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

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