June 8, 2009 | Erick Stakelbeck for CBN News

Can Sanctions Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program?

FDD Senior Fellow Orde Kittrie mentioned in this article.

Watch the interview here.

Former State Department official Orde Kittrie, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation and sanctions, told CBN News that “Iran imports this gasoline from only a handful of foreign companies–no American companies.”

Kittrie pointed out that four of those companies are European: the Swiss firm Vitol; the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura; the French firm Total; and British Petroleum. The last company, Reliance Industries, is based in India–also a U.S. ally.

“The beauty of putting these five companies to a choice between the U.S. market and the Iranian market is that, I think, if put to such a choice, they are likely to choose the U.S. market,” Kittrie said.

The Iranian regime is well aware of this vulnerability. It tried to ration gas in 2007 but backed down when violent street protests broke out.

Although the push for stronger sanctions against Iran has garnered bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill and in the White House–where President Obama has said he will consider tougher sanctions if his attempts at diplomacy fail–some analysts say that without a broad international effort that includes Russia, China and the Europeans, these measures will do little to halt Iran's drive for nuclear weapons.

While there are recent signs that the European Union will agree to tougher sanctions if President Obama's diplomatic outreach to the Iranians fails, Russia and China, both have significant business interests in Iran and have been extremely tough to convince thus far.

But Sherman says the U.S. does have some leverage that can be used with those two nations to help bring them on board. The status of Russia's breakaway republics and China's relations with Taiwan are just two issues where the U.S. could apply pressure.

“We would have to offer Russia and China concessions on issues or, alternatively, threaten them with losing something they already have,” said Sherman.

Kittrie said the U.S. should use Libya as a model when dealing with Iran.

Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program and support for terrorism in 2003 after years of international isolation and sanctions.

But right now, sanctions against Iran are much weaker than what Libya and other rogue regimes have faced.

“Sanctions were also much tougher on South Africa with respect to apartheid,” said Kittrie. “With the former Yugoslavia with respect to the killings in the Balkans; with Rwanda with respect to the killings there; and in Haiti, in response to its coups.”

Meanwhile, in Iran, there appears to be little debate. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadenjiad said recently that Iran's nuclear program is “a finished issue.”

 

Read the article here.

Issues:

Iran Iran Sanctions