Is the EU going to earn its Nobel Peace Prize? This morning, we feel some hope that it might.Up until now, the EU had not matched the severity of the sanctions being imposed by the U.S. against Iran, citing concerns that they were hurting regular Iranians while leaving the regime in Tehran unscathed. Well, that thinking just changed:
The new European measures include a general ban on financial transactions, with some exceptions for those involving humanitarian aid and provisions for legitimate trade.Reversing existing policy, the ban will require European traders to ask governments for authorization before they can finance transactions in permitted goods. Previously, the EU broadly allowed trade unless goods were specifically banned. […]Trade will be hampered further by a new ban on European governments extending short-term trade guarantees, and by tougher restrictions on dealings with the Iranian central bank.Other new measures include a ban on importing Iranian gas to Europe or providing any financing or transport of gas sales, as well as a prohibition on exporting graphite – used in steel-making – and metals to the Islamic Republic.European companies will also be banned from providing storage or transport vessels for Iranian crude or petrochemical products, and from supporting Iranian ship-building.
The Obama administration has repeatedly made it clear that at some point Iran’s nuclear program would lead to conflict with the U.S.; there can be little doubt that a GOP administration would follow suit.The only way to avoid war is to induce the mullahs to compromise on nukes; sanctions and diplomacy may not work in the end, but we should give them every chance. EU cooperation on this is welcome and helpful.