Sanctions On Iran Cause Pain, But No Change In Behavior
The goal of sanctions is to dissuade the target from engaging in activity with which the global community disagrees. In the case of Iran it is their pursuit of a robust nuclear weapons program. Could sanctions actually be having the opposite impact, actually speeding up Iran’s program?
This is the conclusion reached in a new report released by the National Iranian American Council conducted interviews with various Iranian officials and analysts.
While it is undeniable that the sanctions have caused economic isolation, and a degrading of Iran’s currency, Iran has continued to add thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and deployed a more efficient, second-generation centrifuge model.
Report: Iran Aggressively Pursuing Nuclear Weapons
The report – “Never Give In, Never Give Up” – asserts that in response to international sanctions, Iran has simply adapted its economy to hardship and increased their efforts to target Western and Israeli interests around the world.
Trita Parsi, a co-author of the report, tells The Christian Science Monitor, “It’s critical to understand how massive pain is being channeled and absorbed in Iran, because just sitting there expecting pain to deliver results is somewhat naive.”
In recent months, US and European officials have conceded that sanctions are not working even after significant concessions were offered in February.
West Must Demonstrate Flexibility, Less Myopic Approach
The belief that there is a lacking of a flexibility and a willingness to reevaluate the policies designed to deter Iran from developing further its nuclear program is critical is not held by Parsi alone.
Stephen Walt saves his criticism for the Western approach to Iran, saying that the “myopic” approach to Iranian sanctions has been “niggardly in offering Iran any tangible carrots,” a stance which has made it easier “for Iranian hardliners to dismiss our professed interest in diplomacy as empty talk.”