There has been a lot of talk, for a long time, about reining in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Far too many countries have found Iran’s oil wealth simply too hard to resist. There are encouraging signs that for at least some major players, patience with Tehran may be running out.
A week after the United Nations Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions on Iran, the European Union adopted even tougher penalties. Japan, South Korea and Australia are expected to follow soon.
American sanctions on Iran — many dating from the 1979 Islamic Revolution — are already the most stringent in the world. But four years after the Security Council first ordered Iran to stop enriching uranium, Europe is still Iran’s biggest trading partner.
The latest Security Council sanctions are primarily focused on cutting off Iran’s access to the international financial system and ending dealings with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which runs Iran’s illicit nuclear program and much more. The resolution still gives countries too much discretion. It calls on — rather than requires — states to close Iranian banks with any links to the country’s nuclear or missile programs. And it urges them to deny insurance coverage to Iranian shipping and other businesses with any links to proliferation.>>>
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