16
Jan
If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence…
04
Oct
Our ability to enforce sanctions is being hampered significantly by the shutdown.
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Under Secretary Wendy Sherman on Iran, October 3, 2013 (via statedept)

Our sanctions have caused a great deal of harm without yielding much in the way of results. No great loss here. 

(via statedept)

18
Mar

U.S. sanctions on Iran are ineffective and immoral

President Obama boasted during a 2012 Presidential debate that his economic sanctions were “crippling” Iran’s economy and by no means did he exaggerate. Sanctions levied against Iran have injured Iran’s working class and made it extremely difficult, despite “humanitarian” exemptions, for civilians to acquire medicine. Nearly half of Iranian adults polled said that sanctions have “personally hurt” their “livelihood” “a great deal.” Despite this, 63 percent of Iranians think their government should continue its nuclear program anyway. It is perhaps unsurprising that people being abused by a foreign government would rather not have that government dictate policies to them.  

Perhaps dealing the fatal blow to the notion that these sanctions, as terrible as they are, may still advance U.S. interests, The Washington Post asserted today that the sanctions have yet to produce any tangible benefits. 

Nine months after Iran was hit with the toughest restrictions in its history, the nation’s economy appears to have settled into a slow, downward glide, hemorrhaging jobs and hard currency but appearing to be in no immediate danger of collapse, Western diplomats and analysts say.

At the same time, the hardships have not triggered significant domestic protests or produced a single concession by Iran on its nuclear program. Although weakened, Iran has resisted Western pressure through a combination of clever tactics, political repression and old-fashioned stubbornness, analysts say.

[…]

Although Iran has been under U.S. sanctions since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the restrictions imposed last summer were the most significant attempt to hit its oil sector and central bank. The results surprised even the strongest advocates of sanctions: Exports of Iranian oil, Tehran’s chief source of hard currency, fell to about 1 million barrels a day a year ago from more than 2.4 million barrels. At the same time, restrictions on Iran’s main banking institutions crippled the country’s ability to conduct business transactions abroad, with consequences that have rippled across the economy.

The impact has been hardest on the middle and working classes, which have seen savings evaporate and purchasing power dry up.

02
Oct

On the matter of Iran…Netanyahu would be wrong to root for Romney. Barack Obama is the one who’s more likely to confront Iran militarily, should sanctions and negotiations fail. He has committed himself to stopping Iran by any means necessary, and he has a three-year record as president to back his rhetoric. Romney has only rhetoric, and he would be hamstrung in many ways if he chose military confrontation.

We know that U.S. voters, and world leaders, allow Obama extraordinary leeway when it comes to deadly drone strikes, precisely because of his politics, character and background. (We are talking about a man, after all, who won the Nobel Peace Prize while ordering the automated killing of suspected Muslim terrorists around the world.) Romney will get no comparative slack.

09
Jul
Is there any doubt that a proposed military attack on Iran would quickly and easily command support from the leadership of both parties, just as the attack on Iraq did? In fact, given the more direct role of Israel here, the consensus for attacking Iran would be almost certainly stronger and more bipartisan than even the Iraq War generated. Here we have almost half of the U.S. Senate — liberals, moderates and conservatives — jointly demanding an escalation with Iran and all but endorsing a war before the U.S. Government even proposes one.
17
Apr

Israel demanding quick results from Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday his country has never promised the United States it would hold off from attacking Iran while nuclear talks were taking place.

The comments, in which Barak said that a diplomatic push to reach a compromise with Iran was a waste of “precious time,” further exposed a rift between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran and its nuclear program.

The U.S. favors diplomacy and economic sanctions and has said military action on Iran’s nuclear facilities should only be a last resort if all else fails.

Officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany met with Iran in Istanbul last weekend to discuss the country’s nuclear program. The talks were described as positive, and they agreed to meet again on May 23 in Baghdad.

Barak told Israel’s Army Radio he did not believe the talks would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. “We regret the time being lost. This is precious time,” he said.

Barak said the talks needed to yield quick results.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran got a “freebie” from the international community, saying the May meeting gave the Iranians an additional five weeks to continue uranium enrichment without any restrictions. He said Iran should be forced to stop this immediately.

Netanyahu was publicly rebuked by President Barack Obama, who said the U.S. had not “given anything away” in the talks.

The Obama administration has urgently sought to hold off Israeli military action, which would likely result in the U.S. being pulled into a conflict.

28
Mar

Iran agrees to reopen nuclear talks with world powers

The major nations are keen to get Iran to enter talks on curbing its uranium enrichment program, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran says is peaceful.

Western officials in particular are hoping the increasingly harsh sanctions they have imposed on the major oil producer in the last few months will make it more willing to compromise in the long-running nuclear row and help avert the threat of war in the Middle East.

Iran has so far shown no sign of backing down over nuclear development, which it sees as its inalienable right.

The last meeting between Iran and the representatives of the U.N. Security Council nations and Germany, held in Istanbul in January 2011, failed to even agree on an agenda.

20
Mar

President Obama speaks to the Iranian people

20
Mar
We do not have nuclear weapons and we will not build them but in the face of aggression from the enemies, whether from America or the Zionist regime, to defend ourselves we will attack on the same level as the enemies attack us.
20
Mar

Israeli national-security officials are considering a pre-emptive strike on Iran in the near future

A widely held assumption about a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is that it would spur Iranian citizens — many of whom appear to despise their rulers — to rally around the regime. But Netanyahu, I’m told, believes a successful raid could unclothe the emperor, emboldening Iran’s citizens to overthrow the regime (as they tried to do, unsuccessfully, in 2009).

It’s one of several arguments I’ve heard in the past week, as I’ve shuttled between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, that have convinced me that Israeli national-security officials are considering a pre- emptive strike in the near future.

After interviewing many people with direct knowledge of internal government thinking, however, I’m highly confident that Netanyahu isn’t bluffing — that he is in fact counting down to the day when he will authorize a strike against a half-dozen or more Iranian nuclear sites.

15
Mar
Anguish over the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon is understandable. It would be better for Israel, the Middle East and the world if Tehran does not acquire such weapons. The U.S. effort, in collaboration with almost the entire international community, to prevent this from happening and to put tremendous pressure on Tehran, is the right policy. But were Tehran to persist, were its regime to accept the global isolation and crippling costs that would come from its decision, a robust policy of containment and deterrence would work toward Iran as it did against Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Kim Jong Il’s North Korea and the Pakistani military.
15
Mar
Strikes on Iran would probably delay its program a few years while driving up domestic support for the government in Tehran and providing it with a much stronger rationale for pursuing nuclear weapons. Yet sophisticated conservatives insist that this route is preferable to deterrence.