By Paul Mutter
Bloomberg’s editorial board urges US and EU officials to use more crippling sanctions to make the threat of regime change more credible:
The idea behind tightening the screws is not that we expect the regime to see the error of its atomic ambitions. Rather, it is to stress the economy to the point that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei realizes he can no longer afford to see his people punished for such nuclear dreams.
In that quest, the West might have tapped out the oil barrel. Perhaps the U.S. could expend diplomatic and political capital to get greater cooperation from a few of the countries it says are making “significant” reductions on Iranian oil imports, such as India, Japan, South Korea and perhaps China. But pushing Iranian oil sales much below their current monthly level will be tough.
Instead, it’s time to broaden the war to other fronts: targeting the entire Iranian energy sector, making it even harder for companies to sell any nonhumanitarian commercial goods to Iran, and seeking to deplete or freeze the regime’s remaining foreign-currency reserves.
…. Sanctions are a long game, and the objective isn’t to starve the increasingly restive Iranian people but to convince them that their leaders no longer have their best interests at heart. Khamenei will only change his ways when he is forced to choose between his weapons program and the downfall of his regime. Either of those outcomes would be fine with us.