Point of View

Obama Policy on Iran a Failure

Ken Timmerman - newsmax.com


Obama Policy on Iran a Failure

Ken Timmerman - newsmax.com - December 10, 2010

The Obama administration’s approach toward Iran's nuclear ambitions has been a failure and must include a credible threat of using military force, independent experts told a Washington think-tank on Thursday.

“The primary goal of the sanctions is not to harm Iran’s economy, but to change the Iranian leadership’s mind about proceeding with a nuclear program,” said Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a law professor at Arizona State University.

“The sanctions thus far are arguably a failure in that regard,” he said.

After stonewalling a bipartisan sanctions bill in Congress for 18 months, in July, President Obama finally signed into law a measure that sought to impose a cutoff in the sale of refined petroleum products to Iran, long considered an economic “choke-point” by experts including Kittrie.

Since then, top administration officials have been trumpeting their success in getting foreign companies to cut off their ties to Iran in a series of congressional hearings.

But as Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told the FDD conference on Thursday, the State Department has only sanctioned one company out of dozens identified by the Congressional Research Service for their involvement in the Iranian petroleum sector.

“In fact, five companies — ENI of Italy, Total of France, Statoil of Norway, Royal Dutch Shell of Britain and the Netherlands, and INPEX of Japan — were given an official reprieve through a 'special rule' under the new comprehensive sanctions bill,” Kirk said.

“This “special rule” allows the administration to indefinitely delay investigation of companies, as long as the company has “pledged” to stop doing business with Iran.” Until now, however, there has been “no evidence” that any of the firms intend to keep their pledge, Kirk added.

Kirk said the United States had to work much harder at enforcing existing sanctions, while promoting human rights and helping the opposition Green Movement inside Iran.


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