President Obama’s apologists continue to trumpet the notion that his reliance on diplomacy and sanctions is the best route to stopping Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons. Though the partial oil embargo is making the lives of ordinary Iranians a bit more difficult, the sanctions are so riddled with holes that they are not proving much of a deterrent to the Iranian oil industry’s plans for foreign ventures let alone being enough to force Tehran to give up its nuclear ambition. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, the West’s “crippling sanctions” are not stopping an Iranian energy company from making a bid on a French oil refinery.
Iran’s Tadbir Energy is being allowed to bid on the Petit-Couronne refinery, which supplies fuel to Paris. According to the Journal it refines approximately ten percent of the country’s energy. But since Tadbir is not owned by the Iranian government it may wind up taking control of the refinery whose previous Swiss owner has gone belly up. The Imam Khomeini Foundation controls Tadbir, one of Iran’s biggest philanthropies whose close ties with the Islamist regime can easily be imagined. Though the financial restrictions on dealing with Iran and its central bank will complicate Tadbir’s administration of the plant, France’s government, which has been an ardent advocate of sanctions, is not blocking the bid. While this potential transaction is not as significant as the exemptions granted by the Obama administration to China and India to go on purchasing Iranian oil, it is one more sign not only of the widespread evasion of the sanctions but that the Iranians believe they can be waited out.