Brinkmanship Diplomacy with Iran Counter-Productive

The Green Party of Canada is calling on the European Community to reconsider its Iranian oil boycott in reaction to the real or perceived threat that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons.  Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called today on European leaders to step back from the brink and reduce the real risk of an unpredictable military escalation.  “In the interests of peace, it would be more constructive to implement a 50% holdback on oil fees paid than a total boycott that also economically hurts southern European nations.  If international verification proves that Iran is telling the truth that its nuclear program is only for medical isotopes and civilian nuclear power application, then the 50% holdback would be periodically released.   This would be much less dangerous than the current tactics and probably more effective,” commented Ms. May.

Last week the European Union announced a boycott of Iranian oil, delayed until July, to pressure the Iranian regime over its disputed nuclear program.  The Iranian government has in turn threatened to disrupt oil tanker shipping from the Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz in the event of economic restrictions on its own oil exports.  The United States government has indicated it would militarily oppose such an action.  At the same time, Asian nations that import 75% of Iranian oil exports are resisting joining the boycott for either economic reasons or because they consider the boycott counter-productive.

“This kind of brinkmanship diplomacy is more likely to build resentment and solidarity among the Iranian people and strengthen the hand of the government,” added Green International Affairs Critic Eric Walton. “If Iranian authorities are being honest with their own citizens and the international community about their nuclear program – and we should start with the good faith assumption that they are – they will suffer no financial penalty on oil exports.”

Combined with this pragmatic shift in tactics would be an agreement to address Iranian regional security concerns and commence Regional Nuclear Arms Reduction talks with neighbouring nations already possessing nuclear weapons, including Pakistan, India, Russia, China,  and Israel.