Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Iran, Cuba, Iraq? Just how well do US sanctions work?

Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt Leverett write about The coming collapse of Iran sanctions Aljazeera English 02/25/2013. They sketch this history of US sanctions against Iran:

Virtually since the 1979 Iranian revolution, US administrations have imposed unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. These measures, though, have not significantly damaged Iran's economy and have certainly not changed Iranian policies Washington doesn't like.

Between 2006 and 2010, America got the UN Security Council to adopt six resolutions authorising multilateral sanctions against Iran - also with limited impact, because China and Russia refused to allow any resolution to pass that would have harmed their interests in Iran.

Beyond unilateral and multilateral measures against Iran's economy, the US has, since 1996, threatened to impose "secondary" sanctions against third-country entities doing business with the Islamic Republic. In recent years, Congress has dramatically expanded the range of activities subject to such sanctions, going beyond investments in Iranian oil and gas production to include simple purchases of Iranian crude and almost all financial transactions.

This year, Congress blacklisted transfers of precious metals to Iran, to make it harder for Tehran to repatriate export earnings or pay for imports in gold. Congress has also increased the sanctions that can be imposed on offending entities, including their cut-off from the US financial system.
We've had sanctions on Cuba for decades, inflicting a considerable amount of privation on the people there, but without bringing about the overthrow of the regime.

Our sanctions on Iraq after the Gulf War didn't bring down Saddam. But they were one element of a continuing policy that led eventually to a new war.

As the Leveretts point out, US sanctions against Iran are currently under pressure from both Europe and China.

Gareth Porter reviews the Leveretts' recent book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013), in Former Insiders Criticise Iran Policy as U.S. Hegemony Inter Press Service 02/25/2013.

Bob Dreyfuss observes, "Despite years of war-whooping and crisis-mongering on Iran, it's beginning to sink in that Iran’s nuclear program doesn’t represent much of a threat. In fact, Iran has been taking steps on the ground to reassure the most hawkish observers, including Israel, that a bomb isn't imminent." (Progress in Iran Talks: Can We Stop the War-Whooping Now? The Nation 02/27/2013).

Argentina isn't an especially close ally of the US. But Iran's recent agreement with them over the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires may shows some diplomatic flexibility on Iran's part. Marcela Valente reports on that agreement in Argentina Strikes Deal with Iran to Probe AMIA Bombing Suspects Inter Press Service 02/22/2013.

Tags: , ,

No comments: