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More Iran sanction wind whistling

November 10, 2011

The normally reticent director of OFAC, Adam Szubin, has written a blog post about Iran sanctions on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website.  The post accompanied Treasury’s designation of six front companies that own more vessels from Iran’s maritime fleet (IRISL), and Szubin dubiously claimed that “IRISL’s days may be numbered.”

Szubin also linked to a somewhat disorienting Treasury graphic to show the measures Iran has taken to conceal the true identity and ownership of its vessels:

Iran exploits Isle of Man & Panama

At any rate, the post highlights Treasury’s desire to demonstrate that the Obama administration’s sanctions on Iran are “tough” and “smart,” although critics have pointed out that sanctions against Iran have done little to deter Iranian nuclear advances.

During his opening statement at a Senate hearing last month, Banking Committee ranking minority member Sen. Shelby (R-AL) levied a scathing review of the sanctions strategy:

Despite 30 years of progressively more stringent economic sanctions, Iran remains one of the more serious threats to the national security of the U.S. and our allies. Iran continues to support authoritarian regimes, terrorist organizations and radical militias in Iraq and Afghanistan. For allies such as Israel… Iran’s threat to its very existence is real, continues unabated, and cannot be ignored.

More than one year has passed since Congress, the UN, and many of our allies levied the most recent round of sanctions against Iran in an attempt to derail Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the heightened sanctions have not yet produced any significant change in Iran’s behavior regarding its nuclear program, international terror, or its record on human rights.

One problem is that the White House and the State Department have carefully managed to avoid labeling any major Russian, Chinese, or other US-trading partner’s companies as violators of US-mandated sanctions. China, Russia, and others are expanding trade with Iran, continuing to provide it with banking assistance and investing in its energy sector. Additionally, China and Russia have further undermined U.S. sanctions by supporting Iran’s military programs. For sanctions against Iran to be as effective as possible, the Administration needs to do a better job at securing the cooperation of the global community.

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One comment

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