The Obama administration said the measures were a continuation of its “dual track” policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But even as it meted out new sanctions, the White House said “we hold the door open to a diplomatic solution that allows Iran to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their obligations”.
US-led sanctions are reportedly meeting the goal of choking off Iran’s economic arteries. Reports show that Iranian oil production has hit a quarter-century low, and major clients like China and Japan have cut their imports due to the sanctions. The rial has lost half its value since the beginning of last year, causing inflation to skyrocket and making basic goods largely unaffordable. The impact of sanctions have been felt far and wide—and the jump to full-scale economic warfare hasn’t even really been made yet. But the sanctions haven’t yet made ordinary Iranians so fed up with their economic situation that they rise up against the regime in sufficient numbers.Despite this mixed track record, sanctions look like the more promising half of the President’s “dual-track” policy of sanctions and diplomacy. With its Middle East policy seemingly spinning out of control, the administration needs all the good news it can get.As always, the President’s Iran policy is meant to avoid having to make the choice between accepting a nuclear Iran and going to war to prevent one. Here’s to hoping this latest twist of the screws gets us closer to that goal.[Barack Obama photo courtesy of Shutterstock. Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]