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The Importance Of Sanctioning Iran's Central Bank
Articles - December 8, 2011

Ever since the late October release of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran, the White House has been working overtime to convince the world that it is, in fact, committed to preventing the Islamic Republic from going nuclear. Last month, responding to criticism of his Iran policy from Republican challengers, President Obama argued that the sanctions levied by his Administration to date have had “enormous bite.”

The reality, however, is considerably more modest. While it has publicly pledged its commitment to a serious economic offensive aimed at derailing Iran’s nuclear drive, in practice the White House has done far less than necessary to achieve that objective.

To Stop Iran, Lean On China
Articles - November 8, 2011

TODAY, the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report on Iran’s nuclear program. It provides the most convincing evidence to date that Iran is close to producing a nuclear weapon.

But as Iran nears the nuclear threshold, the best way to stop it may be by punishing the Chinese companies that supply Tehran and enable its nuclear progress.

Enforcing Existing Sanctions On Iran
Articles - November 7, 2011

In recent years, the United States has imposed a punishing sanctions regime on Iran’s banking sector. To further increase Tehran’s level of financial pain, a great number of congressional and advocacy groups have repeatedly called on the White House to blacklist the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Doing so, the thinking goes, would seriously hamper the Islamic republic’s ability to abuse international markets in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Yet unbeknownst to most lawmakers and Washington policymakers, the U.S. Treasury actually hasblacklisted the CBI, and not once, but twice in recent years. The real question is why the U.S. government has not enforced its own sanctions regime.

Taking Aim At Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Articles - October 19, 2011

The foiled Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, which was made public by the White House on Oct. 11, amounts to a dramatic escalation of the West's confrontation with Iran. In the wake of the disclosure, the Obama administration has talked tough, pledging new diplomatic pressure against Iran and emphasizing that "all options are on the table" as it contemplates its response.

But what can actually be done about Iran's clerical army and the radical regime that enables it? The most ready answer lies in the prominent role the IRGC now plays in the Iranian economy, which can be exploited by Washington and its allies in the service of a new economic offensive against the Islamic republic.

IMF Betrays West With Mullahs' Malarky
Articles - August 29, 2011

With soaring inflation, chronic unemployment and rampant poverty, Iran is nobody’s picture of economic health. So when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its latest working paper on Iran last month, the rosy assessment contained therein raised more than a few eyebrows.

That study, “Iran - The Chronicles of the Subsidy Reform,” heaped praise on the regime in Tehran for launching a raft of much-needed rollbacks of costly subsidies on everything from energy to foodstuffs. This effort, the report says approvingly, “has created a unique opportunity for Iran to reform its economy and accelerate economic growth and development.”

That rosy view has gained quite a bit of resonance of late. In June, no less prominent a publication than the Economist - using the IMF’s preliminary conclusions as a point of departure - lauded the “exemplary” steps Iran has taken in commencing structural reforms to its economic sector. All of this, of course, must be music to the ears of Iran’s ayatollahs, who in recent months have redoubled their efforts to convince the world that the country is thriving despite the West’s best efforts to ratchet up the costs associated with its nuclear program.

But there’s good reason to think the opposite.

How To Help Sink Assad's Syria
Articles - August 19, 2011


On August 18th, after months of dithering, President Obama finally took a firm stand on the unrest roiling Syria when he announced that “the time has come for President Asad to step aside.” By doing so, the United States has belatedly brought itself in line with the growing number of nations that have abandoned the Syrian dictator as a result of the brutal five-month-old crackdown he has waged against his own people.


 But, now that America is well and truly engaged, is there anything that we can actually do to speed Assad’s ouster? In point of fact, there is. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the United States has at least two means at its disposal to pressure the Syrian government—if only it possesses the political will to use them.

Tightening The Economic Noose
Articles - August 10, 2011

Are sanctions capable of derailing Tehran's nuclear drive? Some skeptics reject such measures altogether, preferring to deal with Tehran by either accommodation or containment. Others point to the spotty historical record of sanctions in altering state behavior in arguing that they will similarly fall short of forcing the ayatollahs to rethink their long-standing nuclear ambitions. For example, sanctions were found to be successful in only a third of the 105 instances in which they were applied between World War I and the end of the Cold War.


As the past year has shown, however, Tehran may well turn out to be the exception to the rule—but only if the Obama administration (and Western governments more generally) make swift and skillful use of the economic and strategic means at their disposal.

Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 108
Bulletins - January 5, 2011

 Regime Implements Radical Economic "Surgery"; Turning up the Heat on the Green Movement

Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 107
Bulletins - November 27, 2010

 Ahmadinejad Takes Aim at the Expediency Council; The S-300 by Other Means?; An Iranian River Runs Through It

Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 106
Bulletins - November 1, 2010

 Regime Keeps up Pressure on Reformists; Amid Sanctions, Iran's Gasoline Trade Continues...; ...But at Reduced Volume; Secret Executions on the Rise