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UPDATE: LATEST NEWS FROM IRAN
- Report: Mysterious blast in Iran’s Isfahan damaged key nuclear site
- Iran: We’ll fire 150,000 missiles at Israel if attacked
- U.S. military chief: Unclear if Israel would alert U.S. ahead of attack on Iran
- Germany OKs subsidized submarine sale to Israel
Guess who is leading the world on a tougher policy towards Iran? Not the U.S. It’s the French, the British and our Canadian friends to the north.
Last week, France, Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. imposed new economic sanctions on Iran. The triggers: the recent IAEA report indicating Iran is steadily developing nuclear weapons, and Iran’s recent attempt to launch terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C. The goal: to try to force Iran’s economy to its knees, with the hopes that Iran’s current government — or a new one — will be forced to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions to get its economy growing again. But French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to their credit, took a tougher stance that President Obama. They imposed sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. They also called all nations of goodwill to follow their lead. “Iran steps up its nuclear program, refuses negotiation and condemns its people to isolation, France advocates new sanctions on an unprecedented scale to convince Iran that it must negotiate,” said Sarkozy. “France therefore proposes to the European Union and its member states, the United States, Japan and Canada and other willing countries to take the decision to immediately freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank [and] stop purchases of Iranian oil.”
[Here’s an interesting analysis of by a solid Mideast expert: “Impact of Sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank.”]
President Obama, however, has thus far refused to impose sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. What’s more, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says, “The United States is committed to engagement.” Engagement with the current mullahs in Tehran? Mullahs building nuclear weapons? Mullahs who tried to send terrorists to attack our nation’s capital? Mullahs who vow to annihilate the U.S. and Israel? Mullahs who have just sent thugs in to storm the British embassy in Tehran? Mullahs who are whipping up crowds to chat “Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to Britain! Death to France!“? What in the world is this administration talking about? Such nonsense would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.
In a remarkable development, the Washington Post has actually slammed the White House in an editorial for pursuing “more half measures” against Iran rather than a serious, principled policy to stop the Iran regime from building nuclear weapons, noting: “The result is that President Obama is not even leading from behind on Iran; he is simply behind.” The Post went further: “The administration’s slowness to embrace crippling sanctions is one of several persistent flaws in its Iran policy. Another is its continued insistence on the possibility of “engagement” with a regime that has repeatedly rejected it while plotting murder in Washington….By now it should be obvious that only regime change will stop the Iranian nuclear program. That means, at a minimum, the departure of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has repeatedly blocked efforts by other Iranian leaders to talk to the West. Sanctions that stop Iran from exporting oil and importing gasoline could deal a decisive blow to his dictatorship, which already faced an Arab Spring-like popular revolt two years ago. By holding back on such measures, the Obama administration merely makes it more likely that drastic action, such as a military attack, eventually will be taken by Israel, or forced on the United States.” I don’t say it often, but I must in this case: Three cheers for the Washington Post editorial board.
The danger, of course, is that by refusing to show strong, decisive leadership to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat, the Obama administration is actually increasing the chance of a major new war in the Middle East. Iran is getting closer to building operational nukes and then using them against the U.S. and Israel, or giving them to Radical Islamic terror groups. Or Israel will continue to feel isolated and threatened and effectively abandoned by the U.S. and will feel the need to launch preemptive military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. The best chance to avoid a war is strong American leadership in using crippling economic sanctions, covert action, a real commitment to regime change, and immense support for Iran’s pro-democracy forces to overthrow the mullahs who control Tehran. Otherwise, mark my words: war is coming. We must, therefore, pray for peace while we prepare for the possibility that war will come.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the timeline of recent events:
- Britain evacuates all embassy staff after Iran protesters storm compounds (Nov 30)
- France recalls ambassador to Iran (Nov 30)
- Norway shuts embassy in Iran after attack on Brits (Nov 30)
- UK expels Iran diplomats after embassy attack (Nov 30)
- Iranian Protesters Storm British Diplomatic Compounds in Tehran (Nov 29)
- Tehran votes to expel Britain’s ambassador (Nov 27)
- U.S. announces new Iran nuclear sanctions, avoids targeting central bank (Nov 22)
- US, Britain, Canada team up to slap new sanctions on Iran –[but Britain also sanctions Iran’s central bank while U.S. refuses to do so] (Nov 22)
- Canada Imposes Tougher Sanctions Against Iran [including sanctions on Iran’s central bank] (Nov 21)
- France urges freeze on Iranian oil purchases, central bank assets (Nov 21)
- The Tehran Initiative has hit the NYT, WSJ, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists and is now available in hardcover or e-book
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