BEIJING - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Saturday warned Iran of more sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, while the European Union (EU) has also threatened recently to impose a ban on Iran's gas export into Europe.
However, instead of forcing Iran to give in, the mounting pressure from the West has only triggered harsh rhetoric from the Islamic republic.
The Iranian oil ministry described the EU threat as a "propaganda campaign," and an Iranian lawmaker said the "illegal" sanctions imposed on Iran by the Western countries are blatant violation of human rights.
In recent months, because of mutual mistrust, talks between Iran and the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany, the so-called P5+1, have come to a deadlock, and those between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have also hit an impasse.
Past experiences show sanctions and saber-rattling cannot bridge differences, but only inflame animosities and trigger tit-for-tat actions.
For instance, Iran has recently accelerated its nuclear program in spite of sanctions from the West. According to an IAEA report, Tehran has doubled its centrifuges in the past few months and increased its high-level uranium to a total of 189 kilograms, which has provoked international concern.
Although the sanctions have brought some difficulties to Iran's economy, they have failed to change Tehran's nuclear policy. On the contrary, anti-Western sentiment in the Iranian public keeps rising, aggravating the antagonism between the two sides.
Moreover, the biggest victims in the sanctions are innocent people in Iran. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, the Iranian people are suffering from the international sanctions as inflation and unemployment continue to rise and lifesaving medicines are in short supply.
The Iranian nuclear issue is complex and sensitive. The concerned sides should not expect the chronic issue to be resolved at one go. Dialogue is the only proper approach, and they should show good faith and flexibility in the negotiating process. The West should realize that blindly ratcheting up pressure on Iran cannot resolve the crisis. The correct way is to stop threatening fresh sanctions and return to the negotiating table.
For Iran, it needs to make more efforts to convince the international community that its nuclear program is for civilian use only. It is advisable for all parties to understand each other's concerns and stick to the way of dialogue and negotiation instead of engaging in war of words or other unhelpful behaviors. (Xinhua)