Commentary Magazine


Contentions

There’s No Time for Attrition

The ever-astounding detail about new sanctions on Iran is that they’re new. For what reason are we staggering out the penalties?

US authorities Wednesday designated New York-based Assa Corp. as a “front company” of an Iranian state-owned bank linked to weapons proliferation, and moved to seize its assets.

The US Treasury said that Assa had funnelled funds to Bank Melli, branded by Washington and the European Union as a “proliferator” linked to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

If time is so limited, why aren’t the mullahs sanctioned and embargoed to the hilt in one sweep? We cross our fingers and speculate about falling oil prices destabilizing the Islamic Republic enough to get them to deal. Yet we have the means to fast-forward collapse and we never use it. Steadily increasing sanctions only helps Iran inure itself to deprivation as it enriches material and builds proscribed weapons. One absolute shock to the country’s economy would constitute a crisis. Any infinitesimal hope of a diplomatic breakthrough would only stand a chance of fruition in the wake of such a national trauma. What’s happening now is just failure in slow motion.