U.S. Plans Tough New Iran Sanctions

By Haaretz

Published November 20, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The United States plans new, tough sanctions on Iran, especially its petrochemical industry, after the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday there was credible evidence Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons.

The U.S. national security adviser, Tom Donilon, said yesterday Iran’s isolation is now “unprecedented”. Speaking to reporters while accompanying President Barack Obama to Indonesia, Donilon said the United States, China and Russia wanted to ensure that the Islamic Republic does not develop nuclear weapons.

The IAEA report Friday stopped short of referring Iran to the UN Security Council or setting a deadline for Tehran to comply with the UN nuclear watchdog’s request for additional information. But 32 of the 35 members of the agency’s board backed the text of the resolution stating that there is “credible evidence” that Iran was trying to build nuclear weapons.

The resolution did not refer to punitive measures or send the matter to the Security Council for action, reflecting the balance between Western powers eager to crank up pressure on Iran and two major powers, Russia and China, which have taken a milder stance.

The resolution expressed “deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program,” and urged Iran to return to talks and restrain its nuclear work as outlined by prior Security Council resolutions.

The United States praised the IAEA for passing the resolution. The White House said the agency “spoke with a unified voice” when it held Tehran accountable for its “failure to live up to international obligations.”

Iran rejected the report, with its envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, saying his country was now more determined to continue its uranium enrichment activities. He said Iran would not attend an upcoming UN atomic forum that will focus on efforts to create a nuclear-free Middle East.

Soltanieh accused the nuclear agency of endangering the lives of Iranian scientists by releasing their names in an annex to last week’s report. “The release of the names of the Iranian nuclear scientists by the agency has made them targets for assassination by terrorist groups as well as the Israeli regime and the U.S. intelligence services,” he said in a letter to the IAEA’s director general, Yukiya Amano.

The U.S. sanctions are expected to be announced tomorrow and build on measures against the country’s oil and gas industry. The idea is to limit foreign investment in the sector, and other Western countries are expected to follow suit with similar measures.

Since the IAEA report, the United States has been trying to rally international support for new sanctions against Iran. But U.S. efforts to target Iran’s central bank have met with obstacles because China, Japan and other countries use it to process purchases of Iranian oil.

Another problem is that the White House is reluctant to take steps that would send oil prices sharply higher, something that would sting the U.S. and European economies.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois is sponsoring legislation to impose sanctions on Iran’s central bank. Kirk said the Obama Administration is “not taking any real action against the Central Bank of Iran or other parts of the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran and then telling everyone else that they shouldn’t do anything either.”

Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said at a House hearing last week that the central bank sanctions could actually benefit Iran while hurting the U.S. and global economies by causing oil prices to spike.

Meanwhile, the IAEA report stepped up talk of a potential Israeli attack, a move that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week would have a “serious impact” on the Middle East and possibly on American forces in the region, without seriously disrupting Iran’s nuclear program.

But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Friday the military option is not off the table. “I don’t choose to talk about our discussions with our Israeli partners, but I will tell you we are on a dual-track approach, economic and diplomatic, with never taking the military option off the table. And I think that’s the right place to be,” he said when asked what the message to Israel would be about a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.