Iran Sanctions Not Working


When the UN passed a weak set of sanctions against Iran a couple of months ago, the party line was that what really mattered wasn’t the UN sanctions themselves, but the fact that they gave the green light to the U.S. and Europe to impose even tougher sanctions of their own. But Paul Richter of the LA Times reports that these sanctions aren’t having much effect either:

Efforts by the United States and its European allies to build a united front to halt Iran’s nuclear program are facing increasingly bold resistance from China, Russia, India and Turkey, which are rushing to boost their economies by seizing investment opportunities in defiance of sanctions imposed by the West.

….The U.S. sanctions prohibit petroleum-related sales to Iran, yet China and Turkey have sold huge cargoes of gasoline to Tehran, and Russian officials say they will begin shipping gasoline as well later this month, according to industry officials. The four countries also have signed deals or opened talks on investments worth billions of dollars in Iran’s oil and gas fields, petrochemical plants and pipelines.

….Although China’s economic ties with Iran have been growing for 15 years, the recent expansion of its business “has been amazing,” said a senior European official, who asked to remain unidentified because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.

This is typical of the history of sanctions: they only work if you can get virtually everybody on board with them. And most of the time you can’t. Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to countenance military strikes, there’s not much more we can do. I suppose we can try to fine foreign companies that violate the US/EU sanctions regime, but that’s a difficult game on a whole bunch of levels. There are just very few options left that have even a minuscule chance of changing Iran’s behavior.

Unless peace suddenly breaks out in the Middle East, of course. I guess there’s always that to hope for.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.