WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says the latest round of sanctions appears to have succeeded in bringing additional pressure against Iran’s nuclear program. But private experts question whether the penalties will achieve their goal of compelling Tehran to give up any nuclear ambitions.
In a speech Monday, the Treasury Department’s point man on Iran sanctions, Stuart A. Levey, who is under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said U.S. and international sanctions are “dramatically isolating Iran financially and commercially.” In addition, he asserted that this “can and will create leverage for our diplomacy” with Iran’s leaders.
“Almost daily we receive reports of major firms around the world deciding to pull out of business dealings with Iran,” Mr. Levey said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The number of companies that recently have curtailed or eliminated their ties to Iran is in the dozens, he added, including Toyota and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.
On Tuesday, U.S. officials in Vienna urged Iran to return to negotiations, which reached a stalemate months ago after Iran tried to re-negotiate an agreement for it to ship out most of its low enriched uranium to be turned into fuel for a research reactor.
At a conference held by the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Washington is “always interested in re-engaging Iran” on the fuel swap but wants to make sure Tehran is sincere.
The policies of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “are largely unaffected by mounting financial penalties imposed by the West,” Mr. Takeyh wrote Sunday in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
“Washington and its allies still fail to realize that they are not dealing with a conventional nation-state making subtle estimates of national interests,” Mr. Takeyh wrote. Ayatollah Khamenei sees reconciliation with the United States as subversion that could undermine the pillars of the Islamic state, he added.
In an Associated Press interview in New York on Sunday, Mr. Ahmadinejad said sanctions are futile.
“If they were to be effective, I should not be sitting here right now,” he told the AP.
So the administration turned to what it calls the “pressure track,” and in June the U.N. Security Council passed a new sanctions resolution. On July 1 Mr. Obama signed unilateral U.S. sanctions legislation that he called the toughest Congress has ever imposed on Iran.View Entire Story
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