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Financial Sanctions Against Iran

The United States is cracking down on Iran … by blocking financial transactions. The article is dated Dec. 3 but the U.S. government began ordering these restrictions at least a week earlier.

I know this because these restrictions reach beyond the banking industry. Even e-gold was forced to suspend access to Iranian accounts. I hoped I could get more information from them, but although they did reply to my inquiry, they couldn't offer any specifics.

This is an attempt to cut off Iran as comprehensively as possible from global financial institutions. There are (at least) three angles behind this:

  1. Punish Iran for its defiant insistence on continuing nuclear weapons research.
  2. Punish Iran for supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents.
  3. Cut off sources of funds that may support terrorism.

I'm conflicted about this situation. On one hand, I recognize the Iranian government as a major enemy that must be fought. Yet this sort of financial action does serious harm to many innocent Iranian citizens who are being oppressed by their government. These people could be allies; we risk making them enemies.

This is one of the problems with sanctions as opposed to direct military action. Sanctions hurt many more innocent people than bombs do, and for a much longer period of time. Why put millions of people through years of misery when a few bombs could do the trick? When and how did sanctions become the "superior" choice?

Why can't the Iranian situation be solved with a few bombs aimed at its nuclear facilities and government leadership? Why does the international community meet the Iranian threat with so much lethargy and appeasement? If we thought their government was facing imminent collapse or overthrow then delay might be a reasonable strategy but I'm not aware of promising signs in that direction.

Tiny Island