Dennis Ross, until recently U.S. President Barack Obama’s senior Middle East adviser, believes international sanctions against Iran are working.
“The fact is [Iran’s] currency has devalued by half in the last six weeks,” said Ross, speaking to Haaretz in his office in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, to which he returned after more than two years in the State Department and the West Wing of the White House.
“I’d say sanctions are working, if that’s the case… Point two, they can see Europeans are going to boycott their oil, and that’s already had an effect on what the Chinese [who are not cooperating with the sanctions] are doing — they are buying from them half, and they are trying to force them to discount.”
India, which is also refusing to boycott Iran, wants “to play a role internationally, but then they want to be able to play by their own rules,” Ross said. “Having said that, 45 percent of the oil that they will buy, they will buy with their own currency, the rupee, which means Iran can only buy goods in India, whether they need them or not.”
These sanctions, Ross said, are the crippling sanctions Israel has called for, and can affect Iran’s behavior. When the Iranians feel they are under sufficient pressure, they look for a way to reduce it, Ross said, and right now they are under pressure they have not been under before. “It’s not an accident that suddenly they want to meet with the P5 +1,” Ross said, referring to the forum of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.