When All You Have is a Hammer...

... Every Iran Problem Looks Like a Nail


When All You Have is a Hammer...

For most of the month of August, U.S. Congress will be on recess. Consider this the calm before the storm.

Most in Washington are aware that September will bring with it the biggest push for Iran sanctions in years. AIPAC has been lobbying for months on the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA), and on September 10 the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations will kick off a massive nationwide lobbying effort, which they compare to the "Save Darfur" movement. All of this will culminate at the end of the month when, conveniently enough, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in New York for the UN General Assembly.

Yes, right around the time Ahmadinejad is at the podium in the UN, Congress is expected to impose what it calls "crippling sanctions" on Iran's economy. The plan is to blockade Iran's foreign supplies of gasoline, hoping that an increase in the price per gallon at the pump will cause the Iranian people to rise up and demand a halt to Iran's nuclear program.

But this plan has number of obvious flaws.

First, the Iranian people have already risen up against the government's hardline leadership. What we have witnessed in Iran for the last two months is unprecedented. To think that marginally higher gas prices will mean anything to a population willing to risk their lives for freedom and democracy is at once naïve and hubristic. According to Juan Cole, imposing broad sanctions on Iran will likely only destroy Iranian civil society and bolster the state's repressive apparatus--as it did in Iraq.

What's more, even if the Iranian people were to demand that the government halt its enrichment program--which they wouldn't, since the vast majority of Iranians support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology--does anyone think that the government will actually go along with it? Has Tehran been particularly responsive to the wishes of its citizens lately? No, in fact, that is what these people are fighting for each and every day: to have their voices heard.

Next, even if the sanctions were effective in harming the Iranian economy, there isn't a single historical example of economic sanctions translating into a desirable change in the Iranian government's behavior. Just as the hardliners are resisting their people's calls for change, so too will they refuse to be seen as capitulating to the demands of the West.

So why is Congress fixated on this idea if it doesn't stand a chance of stopping the nuclear program? Some would say that the government has to be punished for the brutality with which it has treated its people. Politicians in Washington were universally outraged by the violence against the Iranian people. And for many lawmakers, this was a time to stand up in support of these brave Iranians.

Senator John McCain spoke passionately from the floor of the US Senate, saying: "The United States of America must, and this body must, affirm our support for fundamental human rights of the Iranian people who are being beaten and killed in the streets of Tehran and other cities around Iran. We are with them."

Republican Mike Pence of Indiana said: "We are bound to support the courageous and decent people in Iran who are struggling for their rights and their freedom."

And even Minority Whip Eric Cantor spoke up, saying: "We must rally the world around the cause of the Iranian people."

But now, almost in the same breath, those same lawmakers are calling for "crippling sanctions" on the Iranian economy. They are quick to mention that Iran imports 40% of its refined petroleum, making that industry Iran's "Achilles heel" so these sanctions will be able to "bring the economy to its knees."

So much for standing with the Iranian people.

What better way to show our support than by casting the common man into financial ruin? Think about who suffers the most in the US when gas prices rise due to shocks--it's the poor. Why would it be any different in Iran? Certainly the elite won't suffer the brunt of these sanctions--the Revolutionary Guards have been getting rich off smuggling sanctioned goods into the country for years. And with Russia and China ready to provide anything the US won't sell to Iran, the mullahs will surely find a way to fill their gas tanks. So that will just leave the poor and middle class to suffer.

Even neoconservative scholar Fred Kagan has acknowledged the real effect of these petroleum sanctions, saying "Look we need to be honest about this: Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions." So despite all their lip-service, it seems that Congress' priorities haven't changed. They are planning to continue the same failed approach to Iran of the last three decades. To them, these petroleum sanctions made sense before Iran's election, and miraculously, they are still our best option after the election.

Iran changed forever on June 12. We are now dealing with a completely altered country, and we would be wise to tailor our policies to reflect that reality. Congress should brainstorm some new ideas for how to support the Iranian people and still protect our security and nonproliferation objectives.

To start, they should throw out these sanctions.


more from NIAC

IRANdokht aziz

by Kaveh Parsa on

My logic is as follow:

I needed more clarification as to why some human rights violations are less important than fighting sanctions.

if this sound familliar it is based on one of yours.

and if you don't mind i'll decide how to channel my anger .

Rosie Joon,

I am against sanctions, but this organisation is nothing other than a lobby group for elements of IRI. Thats why with my earlier comment I wanted to shoot down  the messenger rather than the message. but I take your point on board. I am learning!!


rosie is roxy is roshan

No no Ayhab,

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

what I meant was you respected us so MUCH that you performed a miracle and helped me control my mouth but then you don't control yours. That's all I meant. It wasn't about engaging or not engaging, whether Gandhi or Atila the Hun on these threads. It was about the N. word. That's all. 

That white whale.  First it was the amoeba. Now the sardine. We're gettin' there, we're gettin' there... lol


where I'm going. I'll tell you in a bit.

rosie is roxy is roshan

Well Craig /PS Mehdi

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

when I first came here I never offered one single firm opinon about Iranian politics OR about US policy toward it either because I knew that the collective here had far more knowledge than I. So i asked and I listened and actually I could explain people to each other sometimes better than they could. Because I listened more objectively than many could. It was a very long time before I began to formulate and offer concrete opinons.

Because you see, many people here ARE American too. So they and I know about America. We have opinions. But I couldn't have them about Iran OR US policy toward Iran until I learned more (except that I was categorically against military intervention, and against sanctions in PRINCIPLE). Now you keep saying 'anti-American'. Yet Mollah and Jaleho praise Obama to the skies. And whatever you may think of him, he is our President.

What I've learned over the past couple months about the internal dynamics over there, I can't believe. So I'm wondering, .what have you learned? I'll tell you the areas that fascinate me: the consolidation of the Guards, the relationship of the labor and regional movements to the Greens, monitoring of the official press to understand how the slants and the censorship work (press tv I found to be a pretty good organization overall and I am fascinated with them).

What about you? What fascinates you the most about Iran INTERNALLY these days?


So basically I do wonder why you click, like ID does. I really do. I assume you must click because at very least you're fascinated by Iran.  But I never hear you say it. Or even hint it. And I never hear you ask things. And I don't understand this.

And last but not least, I don't care WHO it comes from. An invitation to meet in person is an olive TREE. I wish to bloody hell back in February Irandokht and I had had the good sense to talk by phone during the first truce. Before it all blew up sky high. And anyway I'd want to meet ANYBODY, ANYBODY here in person just because they're from here.

So...Craig, you puzzle me.


PS Mehdi, wait, I'm writing you something.



by capt_ayhab on

You kill me girl LOL when did I ever disrespect either you or ID. But as respect to all the good things you have said to me, I shall refrain from engaging certain character.

You got my Sailor promise ;-)


P/S where you off to? Cancun? 

ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

...coming to an Iranian website every day is a choice and there is always
the option of not clicking on the URL, it's just like that social
gathering that you think you'd be avoiding but much easier to do.

Yeah, that might be an option if the Iranian blogosphere hadn't imploded after this website started supported personal blogging. So now you are suggesting that I should just stop interacting with Iranians on the internet, just to avoid you and your friends? 

I was going to ask if you want to talk about these issues in person
sometime, since you live in the same area, but you are obviously not
going to accept my invite.

You're right about that. There's nothing to be gained from such a talk. I'm not going to change your mind, and you aren't going to change mine. So what is there to discuss?


Sanctions are simply begining steps of war

by Mehdi on

Don't be fooled - sanctions are not "diplomacy" as the neocons and Israeli right wingers are advertising. Sanctions are essentially preparatory steps towads war. They say that "we don't like you." And that is the start of a fight. But diplomacy is "we care about you, let's resolve our issues." When sanctions are used by a regime, that regime is already admitting that they are unable to control. When the US or the UN uses sanction, they are saying that they have no hope and they are desparate and that they are INCOMPETENT. If they were in control, they would not resort to a desparate and dangerous tactic. These are incredibly incompetent "statesmen" who are unable to establish contact with another person/government and simply figure out what is going on and resolve differences. So they throw slogans and use name-calling, just like immature children who fail to understand one another and start using clubs on each other. When you see two countries at war, you are looking at INCOMPETENT "statesmen." Simple!

rosie is roxy is roshan

KP, "standing with the Iranian people"

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Iran is one of the most complex countries in modern times. We all know this. Different Iranians have different ideas about how to 'stand with the Iranian people'. Myself personally at this time if one sympathizes with the Opposition to greater (preferably imho) or lesser degree, there is common cause.

How could any understanding be reached if there is an assumption that NIAC doesn't stand with the people (from their standpoint)? How will there ever be solutions?

They are rhetorical questions.


sure you do!

by IRANdokht on

Ex-PC says:

"I'd do my best to ignore them and then I'd make sure not to attend such social gatherings again. I don't have that option online, since in cyberspace we can all go wherever we want"

coming to an Iranian website every day is a choice and there is always the option of not clicking on the URL, it's just like that social gathering that you think you'd be avoiding but much easier to do.

I was going to ask if you want to talk about these issues in person sometime, since you live in the same area, but you are obviously not going to accept my invite.

oh well...


rosie is roxy is roshan


by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Ayhab, chelo kabab.  :oP

But you see the problems? You helped to broker one truce (me & ID) and yet you just said...not even out of deference to me..we both have mouths bigger than our brains. How could you help me shut mine and then...regardless of the situation..

I said it in my first post below. The procedure now is self-regulation and regulation through flagging. I'm not flagging now because it's not the right time for me. But when (if???) I come back I will.

I said it in that post. If we want this site to be the poster child for Iran the sewer that's what it'll be. And so it should be. It's been two years. Time for the community to regulate itself.

Well anyway I'll be gone for a while for sure, so could you please try to control yourself no matter what the same way you helped me to control myself?

Chelo kebab.


Please try to focus and use logic

by IRANdokht on

Kaveh Parsa

What has NIAC got to do with the execution of the kurds? your anger is totally misplaced.




by Kaveh Parsa on

So much for standing with the Iranian people




ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

But Craig, why would you be here if the welfare of the site  weren't
paramount? Especially at this time.

I don't really see how it's helpful for this site to have people on it who spend most of their time attacking the US and defending the Islamic Republic. But, maybe I just don't get it. If I have to accept their contributions are valuable, I will. But then don't I have an obligation to present an opposing viewpoint? Why should I be quiet?

Not ONE person, not one single
person you could extend an olive LEAF to???

None of the people on my list, no. Not unless they made major changes to their behavior and their tone. I wouldn't associate with them in real life. If I had an unlucky encounter with them at a social gathering, I'd do my best to ignore them and then I'd make sure not to attend such social gatherings again. I don't have that option online, since in cyberspace we can all go wherever we want, but I still can't thing of any reason why I should pretend to get along with them.

ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

Flagged you for abuse this time. I've let the others go because they were pretty mild, but that last comment was really offensive. Those are fighting words. Which means, that isn't protected speech.

rosie is roxy is roshan

The sanctions discussion seems to be moving over to

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

the sanctions thread above this one. Different people with different political views are discussing seriously and calmly. Ostaad is there. I thought you'd like to know.

rosie is roxy is roshan

Craig, honestly.... (Abermard and ID)

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

a lot of people said a lot of crap here. Almost everyone. Basically I feel if Abarmard called you Friend, it's sincere intention of peace-making. He was the only one on 'our' Left (so-called) with me who tried to be conciliatory with Zion. So he said Alabama, so so what? Everyone's agitated. You're not?

Anyway, ID and I did this for the website and said so publicly. It's a slow process but what could be more important here NOW than the welll-being of this site? Surely this must mean something to you. People became traumatized first over the election, then the crackdown. So many fights. Now people are starting to think, well, this is not the way. Even Sam and Mehrnaz extended olive branches. No Ommaties, nothing like that.

I don't understand what could be more important than the website NOW. We are shot in the heart, my dear. I say we because I have dual loyalty to two countries in my soul. That's what happened a few years ago and that's the way it is. I'm not talking about a LOVE FEST.

Just ceasefire. Just ceasefire.

Do I see character defects in other people. Yes I do very clearly. But I prefer to try to see my own too, and I should try to see them MORE clearly. So that's what I'm working on now.

But Craig, why would you be here if the welfare of the site  weren't paramount? Especially at this time. Not ONE person, not one single person you could extend an olive LEAF to???


Ostaad had a point

by capt_ayhab on

Ostaad had an excellent point, If you guys do not want this discussion get derailed again by this racist fool, just ignore the Nazi p-g. May be he'll go find a job or something.



Mola Nasredeen

"This X programmer is for Sanction" Said shotor

by Mola Nasredeen on

"Sanctions against who?" I asked.

"Against Irandokht" Hajagha farmood. 

"But why?" I asked again.

"Because she's not afraid" said he.

"Afraid of what of who?" said I

"she's not afraid of threats by hatemongers and warmongers who drop by to straighten her up." Hajagha said.

"He aint sh.. Hajagha, Joojast Hajagha, sag ki basheh..." I continued.

"Stop bragging!" He interrupted me.



ex programmer craig

On the other hand

by ex programmer craig on

ID speaks English like a native speaker. So, I've got to believe she knows enough Americans to know what she says about me not being a "representative" example is a lie. So, what's your agenda dear? You savage Americans on this website all the time, and you do everything you can do to drive americans away, and then you try to claim Americans agree with you? lol.

List please!

ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

which stared by calling me a lair and a bullshitter.

Nope. I called you a hypocrite and a bullshitter. Accuracy counts, racist dude.

And Rosie... have you seen Abaramard (and ID?) who you defend claiming I have an "Alabama" mentality? Just a round about way of calling me a redneck. I'm not even sure what his politics are but I know he's a jerk. Always has been. You can gloss over the personality defects of people on this website if it makes you happy to do so, but I'll choose not too. I have no interest in being "friends" with any of the people I listed, nor do I have an interest in trying to get along with them.

Abarmard... no offense, but if you've been living in the US for 30 years and hanging out with Americans, you'd be able to communicate in English a lot better than you do. My ex-wife moved here from China in 1977 and she speaks English with about as much aplomb as you do... and her written English was better than her spoken. But she worked for Chinese banks and lived in a Chinese community in Southern California before I met her. I'm guessing your situation is similar, despite what you say.

ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

Flagged again for racism.

IRANdokht, waiting for your list of Americans (without the "Iranian" prefix) on this website that you approve of, and who you believe approve of you.

I want names. I'm serious. And no, trotting out your Iranian friends whether under real accoiunts or fake ones to claim I'm not a typical American doesn't count. You made a claim. Lets see some evidence.


rosie is roxy is roshan

When all you have is a hammer,

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

everyohe looks like a nail.

When all you have is a nail, everyone looks like a hammer.

And most people alternate, don't we.

And do better at hammers in clusters...

of fellow hammers.

I wonder why.




by IRANdokht on

The time to deny that it's you, was yesterday when you were writing your comment at 5:00 PM after I addressed you by all 3 ID names and you just went off on a personal rant about me, probably due to the shock of being caught red-handed, which should not have been a shock since I had already hinted at you that I had recognized you a few times earlier, trying to see if you back off and stop pretending to be an Iranian speaking against Iranians interests.

Now it's just useless. You're just digging yourself in deeper. I suggest you retire this ID and make another one up and hopefully come back with a better attitude towards Iranians so you won't be as transparent and so easy to figure out.


rosie is roxy is roshan

Well, basically Ostaad, my views on the sanctions

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

are the ones I wrote down below:


Essentially, I feel this is an EMERGENCY situation and I feel people should get the word out to the 'powers that are' in the US that although they might WANT no sanctions, could there at least be for now some kind of softer compromise, and explain why. Pragmatics. This is a dire situation.


Oh and here's something WILD. I just read last night when I was doing my research on the Sepaah that there's an idea that in building what you and I all this FRIGHTENING military-industrial complex, the Sepaah and all their infiltrators all over the government and corporate world in Iran want the sanctions because they're also involved in major smuggling, which is highly profitable. Anyway if you want, I'll send you the link to your account. Only thing, I'm not sure you check that e-mail cuz I wrote you there a couple of times and never heard back. Sometimes I'm not sure if you track your posts either??????

Oh, Ostaad, people. Yeah. She's my news mentor.Got me going in the right direction. Now I can even argue intelligently with her. lol



by XerXes on

I didn't catch that until now. you are right that's An fishy. lol
even if she isn't an fish, she is her dup and that's the same shit in my book. lol
that's just too funny.
P.S. don't you all wish you lived in Hawaii? I don't live here but man it's nice.



by capt_ayhab on

Although it is noble of you to take all the responsibility, but why should you?

We all F@@ked up, bunch of [masalan] grownups gave in to hate and childish name calling[I am as guilty].  You know my pet peeve, I can NOT stand racist loud mouths be it Iranian, American or from Mars. But in this particular thread, no one that has commented had been disrespectful to Mr. Craig, and he has been instigator of all the name calling, which stared by calling me a lair and a bullshitter. That is where I had to clean his clock so to speak.

But let me take this opportunity to thank you for your consistent and objective defense of my character while I was not even around. If you like Chelo Kabab, next time I am in your neck of the wood, I will buy you the bestest one or Taco Bell, your pick ;-)


rosie is roxy is roshan

Oh, about Abarmard, Craig , (whoever????)

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Craig , we're onsite buddies you and me. (Please don't bite me). But I have heard people say that Abarmard is anti-Semitic (??? not sure..)  but definitely extremist in his political vews. I don't know if you think that but I KNOW it's not true.:He's one of the most fair-minded people I've ever met in my life.  And definitely not Anti-American either. Ever. That's been my experience..

So I'm hoping to read your answer to him, but... just for the record. 

rosie is roxy is roshan

Ayhab, I feel I'm responsible

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

for some of this, VERY responsible, so I won't go until I can either help out a bit for the good of the site and 'peace on earth' or until I know I've failed utterly. Oh and I mentioned you below once explicitly and once implicitly as the person who with Q helped me and Irandokht arrive at a truce. And I'm very grateful and I said I wished some others could've followed suit. Well, we'll see, won't we, my dearest Sailor Sewer Mouth?  lo KHEILI loud


Different view

by capt_ayhab on

there is another dimension to the sanction which I trust the law makers, under huge pressure from AIPAC are not considering.

While it is true that Iran has hurt tremendously from the sanctions of past 30 years and while true that she will even hurt more, fact that these sanction has caused American economy same deep damages can not be ignored.

While American presidents were busy  bowing to some AIPAC pressure, Europeans, Chinese , Japanese and all far eastern nations were busy making sh!t load of money by trading with Iran. Now keep screaming that sanctions are good!



che khabar e

one time and one time only

by che khabar e on

I was starting to take all this BS seriously but in the middle of writing a post just started to laugh.  So that's how I'm going to treat you from now on IRANdokht.  As a joke.  By virtue of who you DO respect, (ie jaleho), I'm not the least bit upset by being on your shit list.  In fact, I consider it a compliment.  :-)  So thank you for that!  Now my dear khanoom, I can prove who I am in a dozen different ways.  This all really doesn't mean a thing to me but I feel sorta sorry for anonymous wife/american wife.  With all your super powers you really do have the ways and means of knowing who someone is, or at least finding out.  So please do.  And when you do, please, show us all.  You're forgetting you're in the USA now, there is a little thing called "innocent until proven guilty".  :-0  This ain't the IRI my dear.  And you're really making yourself look foolish by making these ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims.

Now, I'm going to go on about my business.  I hope and suggest that you do the same.  :-)

rosie is roxy is roshan

Well Ostaad, my post below is about sanctions AND this fight

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

and it seems there's no shoulds or shouldn'ts on this particular thread. So we'll see. I need a bit of time to recoup. I'll read your post and so will others, of course. Thanks.  :o)

PS ohters, sorry if my posts have beenso  long. Obviously, I have a problem with verbosity, and also this is a SERIOUS situation.