“Crippling” Sanctions Will Still Be Ineffective

Three decades of extensive sanctions have slowed but did not stop the Islamic Republic’s move toward nuclear energy, weapons of mass destruction, support of Hamas and Hezbollah, and internal repression. Iranian leaders themselves have nary been inconvenienced, other than their costs of doing “business as usual” going up. Faced with long-term sanctions, they diverted allocations to continue policies and projects abhorred by the West. Limited resources led them to impoverish the people… Nothing in the newly proposed sanctions suggests that this time will be different — that they will truly hurt Iran’s leaders or the organizations linked to their favored projects…. So what types of sanctions could be efficiently and specifically directed against Iran’s troublemakers — preferably with the endorsement of the EU and U.N. Security Council, but if necessary, without such assistance? A broad application of sanctions would be politically counterproductive at this time when ordinary Iranians are rebelling against the theocrats – the opposition would be weakened if dwindling resources became further concentrated in the regime’s grip.


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