It is always dangerous to confuse diplomatic progress with real progress. I don’t mean to denigrate the work of the western diplomats who have toiled for months to put together a new package of sanctions on Iran. In purely diplomatic terms, it was a formidable achievement to get a new UN resolution through today. Although a lot of attention has focussed on the fact that Turkey and Brazil voted against the resolution – an interesting development, to be sure - I think the more significant fact is that all five permanent members of the Security Council voted in favour. It has taken a lot of haggling and persuasion to get the Chinese and the Russians on board.
Inevitably, however, the price of unanimity was to water down the resolution. Western diplomats think that it was worth it. Obviously, a Russian or Chinese veto would have meant no sanctions at all. It is hoped that getting Moscow and Beijing actually to vote in favour will send a powerful signal of international unity to Tehran. Read more