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If the U.S. Decides to Reimpose Sanctions on Iran, Its Allies Will Come Around

Oct. 10 2017

Reportedly, President Trump is considering decertifying the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic before the October 15 deadline, a move that would allow Congress to renew sanctions. Conventional wisdom has it that such sanctions will fail, since their success depends on the cooperation of American allies who will be much less willing than previously to go along. Citing the example of the 2011 legislation sanctioning Iran’s central bank—passed by Congress over the objections of the Obama administration—Richard Goldberg disagrees:

In a closed-door meeting, then-Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin begged and pleaded with the senators [sponsoring the legislation] to withdraw [it]. The United States would not be able to force its allies to go along with the plan, they said—the sanctions regime would fall apart, there would be global outrage and resistance, and gas prices would skyrocket. . . .

[However], every European and Asian ally that had come to Capitol Hill to lobby against [the 2011 sanctions bill] fully complied with it after it came into force. The measure was such a success that President Barack Obama claimed credit for it in his 2012 reelection campaign.

This wasn’t the first time that economic consultants, U.S. businesses, and both European and Asian allies opposed a unilateral congressional sanctions measure—and it wasn’t the last, either. But every time, history proved them wrong. . . .

Today, we are seeing the same old opponents of tough sanctions on Iran come out of the woodwork to warn President Donald Trump against threatening to reimpose a global financial embargo on Iran. Despite Iran’s refusal to allow inspections at military sites, continued testing of advanced ballistic missiles, expansion of its terrorist proxy armies into Syria and Lebanon, and holding of American hostages, former Obama administration officials argue that the United States has no choice but to keep its most powerful sanctions options in a lockbox for fear of European and Asian noncompliance.

Their arguments ring as hollow today as they did in the past. European and Asian businesses will oppose the reimposition of sanctions on Iran right up until the point they are reimposed. And then their lawyers will force them to comply—choosing continued access to the $19-trillion American financial system over Iran’s $400 billion.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Donald Trump, Iran, Iran sanctions, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy