In apparent retaliation for U.S. designation of Iranian individuals for their activity in terrorism and proliferation, the Iranian government has announced that it is imposing sanctions on 26 Americans, including: Generals Petraeus, McCrystal, Odierno, Franks, Sanchez, Casey, Mattis, Keane, Karpinski, Cody, Schoomaker, Briggs, and Jones; as well as former officials Jerry Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle. Probably reflecting the Islamic Republic’s own conflation of domestic security and foreign intelligence services, it also designated former FBI directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh, although it misidentified them as directors of the CIA.
Iran’s response may be both comical and amateurish, but prompts a simple conclusion. The Iranian leadership has yet to take seriously the international community’s concerns about its persistent violations of its nuclear agreements. At such a time, the Obama administration might want to ratchet up the cost of Iranian defiance. After all, those who read pragmatism into the Iranian regime’s behavior must necessarily conclude that such pragmatism makes Iran susceptible to cost and benefit calculations to its behavior.