The sanctions vote: a victory for the establishment

The Security Council has at long last voted on the next round of Iran sanctions. The final tally was 12-2 in favor (with Lebanon abstaining and Brazil and Turkey opposed). The Obama administration is emphasizing the severity of the measures, although it seems clear that these are modest sanctions unlikely to alter Iran’s nuclear course.  

One of the interesting sub-themes of the Council vote is the apparent inability of Brazil and Turkey to swing the nonpermanent Council members against the sanctions, if indeed they tried to do so.  (Lebanon was always going to be skeptical, and apparently agonized up to the last minute.)  The Council diplomacy recently has had overtones of the established powers (the permanent five) against the rising powers (Brazil and Turkey). In that context, the vote was clearly a victory for the establishment.

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About David Bosco

Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World
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