Re-imposing Sanctions on Iran Won’t Be Enough

A number of restrictions on doing business with the Islamic Republic that had been suspended by the 2015 nuclear deal went back into effect this week, and more are on their way. While the American withdrawal from the agreement has already had a significant impact on Iran’s feeble economy, adding fuel to popular protests against the regime, Richard Goldberg argues that it won’t be enough to bring Tehran to its knees:

Sustained political warfare, robust military deterrence, and maximum economic pressure will all be necessary. Pressure will build steadily as our re-imposed sanctions take hold. . . . Sanctions, [however], are only effective if they are enforced. The sooner the Trump administration identifies a sanctions-evading bank and cuts it off from the international financial system, the sooner a global chilling effect will amplify the impact of American sanctions. The same goes for underwriters and gold-traders.

Beyond enforcement, the Trump administration will need key allies to implement this pressure campaign fully. The Saudis, under attack by Iranian missiles from Yemen, should be a willing partner in the effort to drive down Iran’s oil exports—ensuring Saudi production increases to replace Iranian contracts and stabilize the market. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain should also combine their market leverage to force European and Asian investors to choose between doing business in their countries and doing business in Iran.

President Trump will also need Europeans to act on one key issue which, given their opposition to his withdrawal from the deal, may present a diplomatic challenge. Under U.S. law, the president may impose sanctions on secure financial-messaging services—like the Brussels-based SWIFT service—if these services provide access to the Central Bank of Iran or other blacklisted Iranian banks.

In 2012, when Congress first proposed the idea, the European Union ordered SWIFT to disconnect Iranian banks, which closed a major loophole in U.S. sanctions. Now that Trump has left the deal, SWIFT must once again disconnect Iran’s central bank. If SWIFT refuses, Trump should consider imposing sanctions on the group’s board of directors. Trump’s Iran pivot from appeasement to pressure offers America the best chance to change fundamentally Iranian behavior and improve our national security.

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More about: Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Support for Terrorism, Not Ideas, Kept Omar Barghouti Out of the U.S.

April 18 2019

Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian activist who played the leading role in founding the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS), recently had to cancel a visit to America when he was refused permission to enter the country. Contrary to what one might read in outraged columns in the media, the immigration authorities’ decision was prompted not by what Barghouti might say but by what he has done. Noah Pollak writes:

In 2007, Barghouti founded, and runs to this day, a Ramallah-based umbrella group called the BDS National Committee that serves as the leading group organizing and promoting BDS outside the United States. The reason Barghouti was barred from entering the U.S. is not because he advocates BDS or Israel’s destruction. There is no speech issue here at all.

The reason he was barred is because the group Barghouti runs includes five U.S.-designated terrorist organizations in its membership, [among them], Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, [and] the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]. Not only does Barghouti run a group whose membership includes U.S.-designated terrorists, he himself promotes terrorism. [He] has stated his support for terrorism dozens of times, plainly, openly, publicly, proudly, without euphemism. . . .

The only good part of the BDS movement is how it is exposing so many progressives as wishful, gullible, or dishonest in their need to paint the anti-Israel cause as respectable.

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More about: BDS, Palestinians, U.S. Politics