Experience Suggests That Renewed Sanctions on Iran Are the Best Course of Action

Nov. 16 2018

Despite the many flaws in the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, most of the West has declined to support Washington’s decision to reinstate the sanctions that the deal suspended. Emily Landau explains why they are mistaken:

When assessing the potential effectiveness of sanctions as a means of getting Iran back to the [negotiating] table, it is important to keep in mind that they are not a perfect tool, and that they have a mixed record on compelling states to comply with the demands [of the sanctioners]. But of the tools available at . . . the current juncture, imposing harsh pressure on Iran is the best hope that the Trump administration has for turning things around so far as Iran’s nuclear [program] and regional [troublemaking] are concerned.

Indeed, empirical evidence shows that in the specific history of dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions since 2003, pressure is the only strategy that has led to a positive change in Iran’s decision-making in the nuclear realm, namely, one that is in line with the goals of the international community. Inducements—or “carrots”—have always been regarded by the regime as a sign of weakness to be exploited, and never as a goodwill gesture that should be answered in kind. Various carrots and expressions of diplomatic cooperation have never convinced the regime of the benefits of adopting a similarly cooperative stance toward the international actors trying to alter its behavior.

Unfortunately, and despite clear evidence to the contrary, the belief that goodwill will beget goodwill remains a steadfast hope among many—especially in Europe—who cling to the assessment that cooperative dialogue is the only route to success. Against all evidence, they continue to hold that pressure will only cause Iran to be more hardline, not recognizing that the hardliners—or basically one hardliner, the supreme leader—have always called the shots.

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Read more at National Interest

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

Maintaining Security Cooperation with the PA Shouldn’t Require Ignoring Its Support for Terror

In accordance with legislation passed last year, the Israeli government has begun to deduct from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount proportional to what the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Last year, a similar law went into effect in the U.S., suspending all payments to the PA so long as it continues its “pay-for-slay” policy. The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has retaliated by refusing to accept any tax revenue collected by Israel—raising concerns that the PA will become insolvent and collapse—while insisting that payments to terrorists and their families are sacrosanct. To Yossi Kuperwasser, Abbas’s behavior amounts to mere extortion—which has already worked on the Europeans to the tune of 35 million euros. He urges Israel and the U.S. not to submit:

Abbas [believes] that influential Israeli and European circles, including the security establishment, view strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and certainly preventing its collapse, as being in Israel and Europe’s best interests. They will therefore give in to the pressure he exerts through the creation of an artificial economic crisis. . . .

[T]he PA leadership’s insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that . . . the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. . . . If paying wages to terrorists (including the many terrorists whose attacks took place after the Oslo Accords were in force) is the raison d’être for the PA’s establishment, as Abbas seems to be saying, . . . one cannot help asking whether Israel has to insist on maintaining the PA’s existence at any price.

True, Israel cooperates on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. . . . The short-term benefits Israel gains from this security cooperation, [however], are of less value than the benefits enjoyed by the Palestinians, and worth even less when measured against the long-term strategic damage resulting from Israel’s resigning itself to the constant incitement, the promotion of terror, and the political struggle against Israel carried out by the PA. Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA’s breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day to day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA’s continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion.

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Read more at Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror