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Stricter Sanctions and Heightened Rhetoric

October 8, 2010

The countdown to the November 2 U.S. elections is underway.  As Election Day draws closer, punitive actions and rhetoric affecting U.S.–Iran relations are being ratcheted up.  The U.S. State Department has announced new sanctions against eight high-ranking Iranian individuals.  The Administration has also indicated that several major energy companies will end their investments in Iran’s energy sector.  In Congress, Rep. Brad Sherman (CA) is asking his colleagues to co-sponsor legislation that would impose even tougher sanctions on Iran, including a highly-controversial ban on exporting civilian aircraft parts to Iran.  It is worth noting here that Iran already has one of the highest civilian aircraft accident rates in the world, a disturbing fact that analysts attribute to the difficulty Iranian airlines have had in obtaining U.S. aircraft parts since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In his recent address to the U.N., President Obama spoke about sanctions.  He also indicated a willingness to keep open the door to U.S.-Iran diplomacy by saying:

“As part of our effort on non-proliferation, I offered the Islamic Republic of Iran an extended hand last year, and underscored that it has both rights and responsibilities as a member of the international community.  I also said — in this hall — that Iran must be held accountable if it failed to meet those responsibilities.  And that is what we have done.

Iran is the only party to the NPT that cannot demonstrate the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program, and those actions have consequences.  Through U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, we made it clear that international law is not an empty promise.

Now let me be clear once more:  The United States and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with Iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it.  But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program.”

President Ahmadinejad, in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, grabbed headlines by laying out three viewpoints regarding the origin of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  He articulated one viewpoint as follows: “some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.  The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view.” [From the English version of President Ahmadinejad’s speech on his official web site:]


This statement prompted a walk-out by diplomats from the U.S. and a number of other countries.  Neither President Ahmadinejad’s assertion nor the walkouts were helpful to the cause of diplomacy.


Last but not least, in this season of campaigning, warmongering talk continues among some current and aspiring Washington politicians who believe that military strikes by Israel and/or the U.S. are necessary to “take out” Iranian nuclear facilities before they are used to produce a nuclear weapon.  At FCNL we believe such action would be a disaster, and we continue to seek ways to address the nuclear issue by diplomatic means.

  1. Ellen N. Duell permalink
    October 9, 2010 10:34 am

    This is a case of the “pot calling the kettle black”! The U.S. has more nuclear weapons than any other sovereign state, and yet we have the arrogance to denounce Iran for having the possibility of nuclear weapon capability.

    The U.S. must de-manufacture all nuclear and “atomic” bombs–if possible, into their component parts, which then should be made into “plowshares”–objects that are useful only for peaceful purposes.

  2. Margaret Ross permalink
    October 19, 2010 4:57 pm

    If the Republicans do gain control of our Congress, I think their stimulus package for the economy will be to declare war on Iran. The Repugs corporate pals will like that as there’s plenty of money to be made from war. Oh….to heck with the “heroes” who are sacrificed in this great cause.

  3. Jon Roesler permalink
    October 20, 2010 10:07 am

    Focusing on somebody else’s faults, anybody else, especially a common “enemy,” is easier than taking responsibility for doing something about our own faults. It’s called “diversion,” and diversion is a HUGELY successful campaing strategy.

    Q: What are YOU, specifically, going to do about problem X?
    A: Never mind about that. My opponent picks his nose.

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