January 22, 2014 | Quote

The Wonks Waging Financial War on Iran

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank, is small, nonpartisan and little known outside of Washington, D.C. So is its lead Iranian sanctions guru, Mark Dubowitz, a soft-spoken lawyer turned tech exec turned Middle East finance wonk. But Dubowitz and FDD are well-known among the people who matter most right now on Iran policy: the members of Congress and their staff contemplating new sanctions against Iran.

“Your work’s at the heart of what I do every day,” Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declared at an FDD forum Tuesday. Days earlier, negotiations had again failed to resolve a decades-long standoff over Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb, and policymakers had gathered to beat the drum for a White House strategy with fewer carrots and more sticks — that is, sanctions. The Obama administration has so far warded off sanctions, which it worries would torpedo talks. But now the White House is facing the prospect of a newly empowered Republican majority in Congress just itching to play the spoiler role in what many lawmakers think is a naive attempt at diplomacy.  

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