Ukraine imposes sanctions against Iran - GulfToday

Ukraine imposes sanctions against Iran


Volodymyr Zelensky

In an interesting turn in the Russia-Ukraine war, Ukraine has on Tuesday imposed sanctions against Iran. This came in the wake of the intense drone attacks by Russia on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital on Monday. According to Ukraine, Russia had used Iran-made Shahed drones. The issue had come up earlier as well. Iran had clarified that Iran sold the drones to Russia long before the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Ukraine was not convinced. As a matter of fact, Ukraine had asked Iran as to why it was associating itself with Russia.

The sanctions resolution was passed by the Ukrainian parliament and it will be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is a mere formality. The Ukrainian sanctions impose restrictions on technologies to be sold to Iran, especially dual use technologies, which can be used in areas like medical and other applications. Then citizens of Iran are to be denied any trade benefits. The sanctions also include restrictions on transit facilities. That is, Iranian goods will not be allowed to pass through Ukrainian territory. And finally, Iranian planes have been denied the use of Ukrainian air space. It is indeed a comprehensive package of sanctions.  It is not clear as to how much the Ukrainian sanctions package would impact Iran. Tehran is already facing sanctions from the United States and some of the other countries. There have however been conciliatory efforts between Iran on the one hand, and the US and the EU on the other. American President Joe Biden has been trying to revive the nuclear deal between Iran and the West by which Iran is not to enrich its uranium to weapons grade in return for restoration of trade ties between Iran and the West. According to Iran, Ukraine has taken this decision to impose sanctions against Iran as a way of obtaining military and economic aid from the US and EU countries. Like many other countries in Asia, Iran too has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

China, an ally of Russia, is giving economic and political support to Russia. Americans have warned China not to give military aid to Russia. And South Africa has set up an inquiry when it was revealed that South Africa supplied military hardware to Russia. So, Western countries have so far succeeded in restricting military aid to Russia through threat of sanctions, and diplomatic pressure. But Iran has turned out to be a single example of a country giving military aid to Russia. The Iranian clarification that the drones were sold much before the war in Ukraine does not seem to carry much credibility with either Ukraine or its Western supporters. It would seem that Western hostility towards Iran has turned out to be a key factor in the Ukrainian sanctions against Iran. Most countries in Asia and Africa have not condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine. Neither Ukraine nor its Western supporters have been forced to accept the fact that while sympathising with the Ukrainian plight, these countries are not willing to condemn Russia outright. Among the Asian countries which have taken a strong stance against Russia has been Japan, which is also part of G7. It is possible that the Ukrainian sanctions against Iran will be used by the United States to take a tougher stance against Iran, and Americans might impose sanctions of their own against Iranian defence exports. But Ukraine has not established that the Iranian export of drones against Russia had taken place after the outbreak of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainians must be aware that they have no means of proving Iranian complicity with the Russian war machine. This might be only a means of getting an Iranian condemnation of Russia. Iran is unlikely to joy the Western chorus of condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine. This does not mean that Iran is hostile to Ukraine because there are no compelling reasons for Iran to do so. Perhaps Ukrainian sanctions against Iran is more a protest against the drone attacks on Ukraine.

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