Obama’s Iran sanctions strategy is routed by Chinese, Russian rebuffs

Chinese president Hu Jintao said clearly after meeting US president Barack Obama in Beijing Tuesday, Nov. 17, that their governments disagree on tougher sanctions for Iran – or any other issue relating to the Islamic republic. debkafile‘s sources report that this rebuff has led Washington’s efforts to round up big power endorsement of harsh penalties for Iran’s continued intransigence on its nuclear program, such as an embargo on refined petrol products and gasoline, have come to a dead end. The efficacy of unilateral American sanctions, the only non-military option still left to Washington, is questionable.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton made a last-ditch bid Wednesday, Nov. 18, to scale China’s negative wall, before the US president left for South Korea. She tried to talk the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo into at least issuing a Beijing statement on Iran. He refused outright.
The Chinese rejection followed a rebuff from Moscow in the form of a comment by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that it was premature to say that diplomatic efforts for defusing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program had failed. He said it was too soon to talk about stepping up sanctions on Iran, if at all, so contradicting the supportive message Obama received from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when they met in Singapore last week and agreed that time was running out for Iran to respond to international efforts to meet it halfway.
Tuesday, before Beijing and Moscow knocked sanctions on the head, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu said optimistically that the Iranian nuclear issue should be left for the world powers and international community to deal with. In a few short hours, that option had melted away.
In the last 24 hours, Israelis have been too busy discussing the expansion of the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem to notice that their former and current governments, headed respectively by Ehud Olmert and Binyamin Netanyahu, have just suffered one of their biggest foreign policy defeats. They are now confronted with a most unwelcome dilemma.

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