Iranian Oil Sanctions Still Biting

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Via Stuart Staniford, here is a chart of Iranian oil production. It dropped in 2008, probably due to the Great Recession, then plateaued for a while, and then began a steep plunge in the middle of last year. “So the sanctions are definitely biting,” Stuart says, and “revenue will likely have dropped much more than production (since only a fraction of production is exported and prices paid will have dropped as Iran’s few remaining customers use their leverage to extract price concessions).”

Nonetheless, Iran has shown no signs so far of bowing to international pressure to abandon its uranium enrichment facilities. On the contrary, it’s speeding things up. This leads Charles Krauthammer to endorse Anthony Cordesman’s proposal for dealing with Iran: establish clear red lines, offer generous terms for giving up their uranium enrichment, and then make it crystal clear that we will use military action to destroy their enrichment facilities if they continue to hold out. This is an alternative that I suspect will gain an increasing number of fans as the Iran stalemate goes on. There are even occasional moments when I’m one of them, though this isn’t one of them. This is, unfortunately, not a problem with any good solutions.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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