August 8, 2011 | Quote

Senators Demand Obama Step Up Iran Policy

Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has been intimately involved in drafting sanctions legislation and in urging a series of escalating measures. He e-mailed me this morning:

When it comes to implementing tough measures to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, there is no longer a “third rail” that should prevent us from trying any measure to squeeze the regime. The Obama administration must target Iran’s crude oil sales, designate the Central Bank of Iran, and sanction the Chinese, Indian and other companies that continue to do business in Iran’s energy sector. We don’t have time for half measures and slow, incremental changes.

We can however target the Iranian regime in ways that won’t spook oil and financial markets, thereby driving up the price of oil and inadvertently enriching the Iranians. Smart sanctions include establishing the U.S. as an Iranian oil free zone so that no Iranian refined petroleum or petrochemical products enter our market as well as targeting companies which do business with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the crude oil supply chain. We could also hit the Central Bank of Iran on a “class of transactions” level instead of a blanket designation, for example, by sanctioning any international person involved in the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt, particularly, energy bonds, all Iranian government foreign exchange transactions, any investments by Iran’s sovereign wealth funds, and any provision of liquidity for Iranian banks or government ministries.