How Badly Would Sanctions on Gas Imports Hurt Iran?

Could the U.S. block sales of refined gasoline to Iran as a way of ratcheting up pressure on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime? That’s a prospect U.S. politicians have talked up for months. But as the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China prepare for crucial talks with Iran in Geneva on Oct. 1, there’s a growing realization that the strategy might not work. “The hype around blocking gas is hugely overdone,” says Richard Dalton, who was British ambassador to Iran until 2006 and is now an associate fellow at the London think tank Chatham House. “People use this term Achilles’ heel, but it has got very little substance to it.”

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