THE PLANK DECEMBER 8, 2009
With no signs of cooperation from Tehran and Obama's year-end deadline approaching, the administration is pushing for new sanctions against Iran starting in January. For a better understanding of the sanctions situation, check out these recent TNR pieces:
In "Over a Barrel," David Makovsky and Ed Morse argue that the current sanctions being considered are unlikely to have much effect:
The only effective option for seriously limiting its gasoline imports is to impose a naval blockade on Iranian ports, which should only be undertaken, if needed, after proper and complete preparation. Since this would be tantamount to an act of war, it should only be initiated by the United States and its allies after diplomacy and financial sanctions have failed, as a last measure short of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Benjamin Weinthal documents the ways in which sanction talks are threatened by Europe's relationship with the Iranian regime:
Since the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Europeans have waxed outraged over the thuggishness of the basij and the imprisonment of dissidents. But all that indignation is highly unlikely to spur the Europeans to use their trade relations as a bludgeon against the Iranians.
Finally, John B. Judis examines how the construction of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline in Iran could transform sanction policy:
If the Obama administration wants to get Europe to buy into a draconian sanctions strategy against Iran, it is going to have to convince EU countries that Nabucco makes sense without Iran. And it doesn't.
Click here to read David Makovsky and Ed Morse on the efficacy of sanctions.
Click here to read Benjamin Weinthal on European ties to Tehran.
Click here to read John B. Judis on the politics of pipelines.