Iran : U.S. on the verge of serious sanctions
The media is boiling with the news of the FBI seizing Iranian assets in America. Assets previously blocked in December 2008 by the Bush Administration. Obama is merely dazzling the public opinion in order to mask the fact that he refuses to adopt heavier sanctions against the Mullahs.
It’s not only Obama’s wishes but also American interests, for Washington has to reach an entente with Iran. This would allow the U.S. to have access to Central Asia, and thus block the Russian and Chinese arms traffic with the Talibans through Iranian territory. The appropriation of Iran and Central Asia would also put an end to a century of British leadership of the oil industry. The key to this dominance is Iran, however, Washington moreover would like to control the Mullahs, leaders of Islamism, and therefore, with their help create havoc in Muslim Chinese regions. This project is not in the Mullahs’ interest for it would pass by a democratization of the regime. They have been resisting for years, and Washington has been sanctioning Tehran with different official pretenses such as the nuclear issue, whilst avoiding sanctions that would precipitate the regime’s downfall. Thus, in the effort to maintain a possible future ally in place, Washington has abused of official intelligence reports modifying the degree of Iran’s nuclear nuisance capacity according to their own interests of the moment.
The critical threshold of sanctions that Washington avoids passing, has led them to imagining other forms of pressure such as rumours of joint military strikes with Israel or punctual destabilization operations in the Iranian influence zones, like the Gaza Band recently.
Despite the cautious diversity in American pressures, the critical threshold was reached in August 2008 following an entire year of financial sanctions, when the Iranian economy nearly crashed because of extremely poor management by the Mullah regime. Washington was cornered having no more tricks in its sleeves to calm a worried public opinion convinced of an imminent danger from a nuclearized Iran and therefore demanding sanctions. The American, and furthermore World public opinions are the political allies of the sanctions policy against Tehran. An escalation in sanctions becoming inevitable, the Bush Administration found a subterfuge in the boycotting of this same financial institution that pleased the public opinion and did not put the regime’s economic situation at risk. It is interesting to note that this institution was already under sanctions from a precedent Security Council resolution.
During the last year of his mandate, Bush imposed a single new sanction on Iran : the seizure of the assets of the Alavi Foundation, an important asset but with no influence on Iranian economy. By announcing the same exact measure as Bush, Obama has achieved a similar effect as his predecessor, appeasing American public opinion and remaining on the threshold of critical sanctions.
In the same grain, Obama announced yesterday that he maintains sanctions adopted by the Carter Administration amidst an absence of motivation from Tehran to normalize relations with Washington. The Carter sanctions being essentially a freeze on certain Iranian assets and an embargo on aircraft spare parts, it remains a pure opinion driven action with no great economic pressure on the Mullah Regime. The measure preserves Tehran from further economic constraint while it allows Washington to prepare its public to a near future entente with a historic enemy.
A few days ago Washington had acted in the same direction by announcing the voting of a bill by the House of Representatives imposing a total embargo on refined oil exports to Iran. A menace waved by Washington in the past to intimidate the Mullahs. If the bill were to be adopted by the Senate it would choke the Iranian economy and be fatal to the Regime.
Yesterday’s announcements spared Tehran from heavier sanctions. The Mullahs remain under sanctions adopted in 2007 that have plunged the Regime’s economy in a comatose state. The day was not synonym of difficulties to come for the Mullahs, but for the United States, announcing an extremely difficult juggling of future measures to remain on a critical threshold without precipitating the Regime to their downfall.