Who Can Enforce Iran Sanctions?
Monday, August 03, 2009 at 10:05 am
It sounds pretty simple: if negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program stall/don’t restart/break down, put together a sanctions package on Iran’s oil imports. (Yes, Iran has the world’s second-or-third proven highest oil reserves, but it still imports gasoline.) But here’s the soft underbelly, reports David Sanger at The New York Times:
But enforcing what would amount to a gasoline embargo has long been considered risky and extremely difficult; it would require the participation of Russia and China, among others that profit from trade with Iran. Iran has threatened to respond by cutting off oil exports and closing shipping traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, at a moment that the world economy is highly vulnerable.
Why would Russia and China agree to such a package? And why would, say, the United Nations agree to a move that would push the Iranians to dare the international community to confront it militarily over a global economic chokepoint? The smart people quoted in Sanger’s piece make the case for the sanctions by saying that the Iranian regime is more vulnerable to sanctions now, after the theft of the June 12 elections exposed popular anger and antipathy toward it, but not how to make those sanctions feasible.
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