Are Obama's Iran sanctions a ruse?

But while the new sanctions will inflict a significant measure of pain against Iran’s already struggling economy, virtually no one in Washington believes that they will compel Iran to make unilateral concessions at the bargaining table over its nuclear enrichment program. And, experts say, Iran can get along fine for the foreseeable future with a little belt-tightening…

The only way sanctions against Iran make sense is not as policy, but politics.

Since 2009, when the first round of talks stalled between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the so-called P5+1, the Obama administration has used economic sanctions as a way of kicking the can down the road. Rather than make real concessions to Tehran, including recognition of Iran’s right to enrich, if Iran accept air-tight international oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the White House used the sanctions as a way of deflecting pressure from neoconservatives, hawks, and right-wing backers of Israel in the United States who demanded confrontation with Iran. Inside the administration, few if any officials actually believe that sanctions will work as intended, namely, to force Iran to comply with UN Security Council resolutions that demand a stop to enrichment. Since 2009, President Obama has opposed, deflected, and tried to weaken sanctions legislation enacted by Congress. Were sanctions too draconian, and were the United States to move overtly toward military confrontation with Iran, the P5+1 coalition would instantly shatter and both Moscow and Beijing would align more closely with Tehran.

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