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The Contender
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Should we eliminate sanctions against Iran to normalize relations?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2011 Category: News
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,044 times Debate No: 14907
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)




We can't begin to make progress if we continue to shut out countries that could be helpful. With the current situation in the Middle East, is this a good time to begin to rebuild relations? Particularly with the idea that we may be facing new governments that may or may not support us? Is this a good time to in essence begin anew?


The analysis my opponent gives in her first speech would be relevant and more substantive if we were referring to Tunisia, Egypt, or even Libya and Bahrain. But at this point, Iran has yet to see a strong opposition against the Clerical Regime after the last major protests due to the alleged fraud-ed election of the Iranian president. Thus,the possibility of a new government being implemented in the near future in Iran is minimal to negligible.

Onto my case:

First, negotiations are a futile attempt and thus the U.S. need to have some leverage over the Clerical Regime

Michael Slackman, New York Times, ���‚��"U.S. Focus on Ahmadinejad Puzzles Iranians���‚����.

The West needs to learn that in Iran, what matters is ideology ���‚�" Islamic revolutionary ideology, according to politicians and political analysts here. Ahmadinejad���‚��„�s power stems not from his office per se, but from the refusal of his patron, Ayatollah Khamenei, and some hard-line leaders, to move beyond Iran���‚��„�s revolutionary identity, which makes full relations with the West impossible. ���‚��"Iran has never been interested in reaching an accommodation with the United States,���‚���� the Iranian political scientist said. ���‚��"It cannot reach an accommodation as long as it retains the current structure.���‚����

Second, sanctions are the best approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the Clerical Regime

Benjamin Weinthal, Staff writer for the Obama Administration

Before Iran's June 12 presidential election, President Barack Obama relied on carrots rather than sticks to encourage the Iranian regime to halt its nuclear-enrichment program. But since the violent crackdown against protesters disputing the election results began, the mix of incentives (carrots) and disincentives (sticks) has changed. The central paradox of the Iranian economy is that while the country has the second-largest gas and oil reserves in the world and is ranked as the fourth-largest global oil exporter, Iran's feeble infrastructure does not allow it to refine enough petroleum, forcing the regime to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline. Iran's gas sector is enormously vulnerable to external pressure.

Jett et al, McCormick Tribune Foundation

Iran today suffers from severe economic vulnerabilities. It is deeply dependent on foreign supplies of refined petroleum, obtaining close to 40 percent of its annual gasoline consumption from abroad at a cost of billions of dollars annually. The vast majority of regime wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people, as well as in Iran���‚��„�s sprawling, largely-unregulated religious/social foundations known as bonyads. Iran���‚��„�s energy sector requires sustained foreign direct investment (some $1 billion annually to maintain current production levels, and $1.5 billion a year to increase capacity), and without such sustained capital the Islamic Republic could revert from an energy powerhouse to a net energy importer in the span of very few years. Targeted financial measures that take advantage of these weaknesses can substantially impact Iran���‚��„�s political priorities, as well as the pace of its nuclear program. ���‚��"Smart sanctions���‚���� that target regime officials and their associates (through travel bans, asset freezes and similar measures) can profoundly impact both the decision-making and the legitimacy of the regime in Tehran.

CON COUGHLIN, Staff Writer for the UK

Iran's banks are on the brink of collapse and its manufacturing industries facing severe shortages as sanctions bite, according to assessments by Western officials. A confidential report submitted to the Iranian parliament said that continued economic isolation was having dire consequences. The country's banking industry is suffering from a boycott by European, Japanese and American banks, Western diplomats said. The biggest banks will not conduct any transactions with any Iranian clients, meaning that businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find hard currency. ���‚��œ

Thus, due to economic isolation, Iran can't afford to enrich high levels of uranium which would be necessary for the creation of a nuclear device or weapons

The Council on Foreign Relations

Weapons-grade uranium or HEU--is around 90 percent. According to the IAEA, Iran is capable of enriching to about 4.7 percent.

**Without resources and necessary capital, Iran won't be able to effectively create a nuclear weapons**


Sanctions will compel further protests against the regime

Michael Burleigh, an international and geopolitical analyst

Sanctions may be slow, but the existing ones against Iran are already having a political effect. Opposition to Iran's President Ahmadinejad has spread beyond the students in Iran to conservative "traitors" who feel he is taking their country over a precipice. Such "traitors" are influential individuals and include two former presidents as well as the country's top nuclear negotiator.

Debate Round No. 1


While my first argument might have been based on countries besides Iran, there is still a valid argument for negotiating with Iran. While you maintain that negotiation attempts have been futile, you did not show any evidence for that point. What we have to look at is the idea that there is the possibility of a new government in Iran and that were we to start off on a better foot, we might have a possibility of improving relations with Iran. Your points seem to be that preventing Iran from receiving necessary supplies and capital by enforcing these sanctions will be effective enough to ensure that there will be no continued threat. What we have to realize is that we have maintained these sanctions for s long, and they have yet to improve any relations. If they are so effective at ensuring that Iran is unable to get the necessary supplies, then why do we still live under the threat of a nuclear attack?

Your points essentially maintain the idea that what we're doing will ensure they can't carry out their threat. In addition you claim that negotiation attempts have been futile. We need to realize that new methods can be effective and that if what we're doing doesn't work, then there's no harm in trying a new method.


1. She says I give no evidence as to why negotiations will fail

--> Refer to the piece of evidence itself. Slackmann tells us that the very ideological constraints that the Islamic revolution has imposed within its own members prevents any negotiations to be successful. This ideology sees the West as inherently and morally evil, since it is not under the will of Allah, the West does not submit itself.

--> Empirical evidence can be seen on the fact that negotiations about Iran's nuclear capabilities have always failed in th past. This has forced the West to impose sanctions. Her argument assumes we used sanctions first, but sanctions were used because negotiations have failed.

2. She says we have to look to the possibility of a new regime.

--> This is completely nonsensical because at this point in time the Iranian Regime has for the most part crushed any major resistance. The situation in Iran is not like that of Egypt or Tunisia. Her analysis is being displaced unto a scenario where there is minimal analogous situations.

--> EXTEND the dropped turn I made at the bottom of my last speech. The only way to compel protests is make the people feel that their government cannot protect them anymore. As the Burleign evidence indicates, its because of sanctions that spurred the resistance in the first place.

--> If a new government is implemented, then sanctions will not be needed because a new government means new negotiations. That possibility, however, does not warrant a shut down of sanctions against the current regime.

3. She says what is the point of sanctions if we still live under the threat of a nuclear attack

--> EXTEND the Council on Foreign Relations evidence. This evidence indicates that structurally and functionally Iran is not capable of creating a weapons grade nuclear device. Just because my opponent feels we live under the threat, doesn't mean it is true or sufficiently warranted.

4. Case Extensions

--> EXTEND the Weinthal, Jett and Coughline evidence which all indicate that sanctions applied against their petroleum industry would cripple the Iranian economy making it nearly impossible to sustain enough capital to maintain Iran's nuclear capabilities.

These extensions should give sufficient warrant to vote in favor of sanctions since it is the best approach the US has at this time to counter Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Debate Round No. 2


I am willing to concede on all points but the one regarding the idea that Iran has access to nuclear supplies. If I am to understand my opponent, Iran has nuclear ambitions, yes? Now, under any other situations, particularly without sanctions, they would be able to access these supplies? According to this, my opponent's logic is that these sanctions are effective because we are preventing Iran from accessing their supplies. While my opponent claims that I don't have any proof of the fact that we currently operate under the fact that there is a feasible threat from Iran; here is an article to prove it.
This article I actually from the Council on Foreign Relations, a source my opponent cited. This shows that there is a threat that needs to be addressing that isn't being handled with the sanctions. It is for these reasons that you must vote in the pro.


So she conceded all the other evidence.

This leads to a topical negation. Remember, the resolution states: "should we eliminate sanctions against Iran to normalize relations"

Since she has conceded that eliminating sanctions wont normalize relations, then she has conceded the main portion of her topical burden.

But, on to the nuclear argument

The Council on Foreign Relations states that a threat exists IF they can gain enough capital and resources to enrich enough uranium. Due to sanctions, they do not.

You can vote neg her as well.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
srry, the txt got messed up for some reason. But its still readable.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by BillBonJovi 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was more informal and detailed in this debate
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The concessions really hurt the pro side.