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In an interview, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, applauded the Obama administration’s moves last week against eight Iranian officials charged with human rights abuses. He said it is crucial that “there’s no place that they can go — and certainly in the West — where they wouldn’t be subject to sanctions and/or worse.”

The administration also sanctioned a Swiss-based company said to have engaged in prohibited energy trade with Iran. “I think they should go further,” Mr. McCain said, “but I at least am pleased that they took this step.”

Still, he echoed Ms. Nonoo’s doubts that the sanctions would achieve their ultimate objective.

“The reality is that it may be too late to prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Mr. McCain said. “Now, I’m not saying we should quit trying. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to take every measure that we can. But some of these measures, I think, could have been far more effective if we’d have taken them some years ago — and I think that’s the opinion of most experts.”