Iran is dangerously close to acquiring nuclear weapons, and the White House needs to act with more urgency to strengthen economic sanctions, says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“The [Iranian] regime faces a short, relatively inexpensive dash to the nuclear finish line,” he and Mark Dubowitz, the foundation’s executive director, write in a Wall Street Journal
The current sanctions have affected Iran’s economy, cutting oil exports by half, but much more needs to be done “if a red line — Israel's in June or America's in January 2014 — is not going to be crossed, necessitating military action,” they say.
The United States must freeze Iran’s central bank out of the international financial system to deny it much needed cash. And the Obama administration should push foreign banks to freeze Iranian government assets, eliminating another source of currency reserves for the rogue nation, Gerecht and Dubowitz maintain.
The Obama administration also should forbid all non-humanitarian exports to Iran and use the threat of sanctions to make Iran’s trade partners obey. In addition, the White House should ban foreign tankers carrying oil products to or from Iran from docking in the United States.
“It is astonishing that these steps have not already been taken,” the duo writes. “In their absence, Iran's economy has been allowed to remain healthy enough to leave a vanishingly short time for sanctions to do the work that would head off military action, whether sooner by Israel or later by the United States.”
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