November 22, 2011 | Quote
Iran Sanctions: Are We Serious?
If the administration truly wants to avoid military action and finds it “unacceptable” for Iran to get a nuclear weapon, it should be the one pressing for the toughest sanctions possible. Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies thinks the pressure point is oil. He tells me that the immediate step should be to target oil sales involving the Central Bank of Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. “So the administration today should enforce existing laws against doing business with the IRGC against select oil transactions by threatening sanctions against certain energy buyers, central banks and other market players, “ he says. The sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, he contends, are another mechanism for pinching those oil sales. He says, “The real reason to target the CBI is to impact Iran’s ability to sell its oil. Oil sales represent 50 to 75 percent of the government budget and 80 percent of export earnings. This is the only real short-term sanction that matters. Sanctioning the CBI makes it difficult for companies to settle an oil purchase, given the effective job Treasury has done severely curtailing the use of other Iranian banks by these oil buyers.” And yet the administration hasn’t taken this step.