Temuri Yakobashvili, Georgia’s ambassador to the United States, responds to my post from Monday asking whether Georgia was helping Iran skirt sanctions. Ambassador Yakobashvili writes:
“This is simply not true. The Government of Georgia would never allow this or be complicit in any effort to undermine international sanctions. Whoever claims to have seen Iranian oil being transported through Georgia was mistaken or misinformed. To the question of whether Georgia is helping Iran skirt sanctions, the answer is unequivocally no.”
I am grateful for Ambassador Yakobashvili’s response. While Iranian tanker truck traffic—and the explanations of transit fees offered by Georgians to recent visitors—is curious, the ambassador’s response to the question “Is Georgia helping Iran skirt sanctions” shows the seriousness with which Georgia takes U.S. interests.
His statement regarding Iranian sanctions is definitive. If only other countries in the region—neighboring Armenia, Turkey, and Russia, for example—expressed the same seriousness of purpose regarding Iran and embraced the same pro-Western, liberal values, then the regional situation would be far better. It would also be better if the United States would make it clear to these countries, as this administration has not always done, that friendship and loyalty matter.