One day after calling for the U.S. to sanction the Swiss energy firm, Elektrizitats-Gesellschaft Laufenburg (EGL), and taking the unprecedented step of calling for the Obama administration to recall Switzerland as the representative of U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Benjamin Weinthal appears to be ready to throw in the towel on sanctions and move on to “lay[ing] the foundations for military strikes.”
It is now up to the U.S. and its Western allies to aggressively enforce sanctions, and rope in the Chinese and Russians. Economic penalties might turn out not to be a panacea for the nuclear and human-rights crises in Iran, but there should be a genuine attempt to strangle Iran’s energy sector.
But Weinthal finished his post with what could only be interpreted as a call to military action against Iran:
Soggy Western appeasement toward Iran’s regime is a natural precondition for Israeli military action, a country whose existence is immediately threatened by Iranian acquisition of atomic weaponry. The West has a chance to avoid a repeat performance of its wretched appeasement politics of the 1930s. If robust economic sanctions do not force Iran to walk away from its nuclear-weapons program, the West has to lay the foundation for military strikes. Time is the West’s enemy.
Weinthal’s endorsement of a military strike—notably not because it is necessary but because Israel will attack if the U.S. doesn’t—is significant since he is a member of FDD’s Iran Energy Project, which just last week put out a report (PDF) describing how, through sanctioning Chinese companies which do business with Iran, the U.S. could pressure Iran to give up its nuclear program.
It’s curious that some of the proponents of stricter sanctions are simultaneously ready to declare the sanctions regime a failure.