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Israeli delegation off to China to lobby for containing Iran

Tehran facing severe economic crunch due to sanctions, failing policies

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Israeli delegation off to China to lobby for containing Iran

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will be in China next week for talks designed to convince Beijing to take a firmer line against Iran’s renegade nuclear program, marking the third high-level Israeli diplomatic mission to China so far this year.

Chinese reluctance to cooperate with Western efforts to isolate Iran and participate in political, diplomatic and economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic has also drawn the displeasure of the US, UK and France, especially after China joined these countries in voting for a fourth round of sanctions by the UN Security Council in June.

“So far we have seen the sanctions have taken a serious toll on the economy, as seen by the dramatic devaluation of the Rial (Iranian currency,)” Ayalon said before leaving. “However, we still haven’t seen that this has persuaded the Iranians to change their course on pursing their nuclear weapons. The international community will probably need to assess the effectiveness of sanctions by year’s end, since the sanctions were put into place not for their own sake, but to change polices.”

Ayalon hopes to build on the diplomatic success of a trip to China last spring by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who helped convince the Chinese to vote in favor of the UNSC sanctions in June. China’s economy is heavily dependent on Iranian oil imports, which they fear would be disrupted in the event of a military strike on the Islamic Republic. Israeli officials have not confirmed it yet, but several analysts have speculated that Israel can use that fear to motivate the Chinese to apply pressure on Iran.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad's government is reported to be confronting severe economic problems, including some triggered by international sanctions, which are causing prices to rise and making it increasingly difficult for Iranian companies to work internationally. Steel prices have already increased by nearly 50% in the past two months because of the sanctions. Following fresh financial sanctions from the United Arab Emirates, Iran's Central Bank did not intervene last month when Iran's currency, the rial plummeted by 15% in one day, leaving traders and importers with evaporating bank accounts.


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