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Published on September 21st, 2010 | by Eli Clifton


FDD Scholar: For Both Sanctions and a Military Strike

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.”

Weinthal, who also writes for the Weekly Standard blog and the Jerusalem Post, wrote today on National Review’s The Corner blog:

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.

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One Response to FDD Scholar: For Both Sanctions and a Military Strike

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  1. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    Why curious? They want to able to say that we went the last mile on sanctions before the bombing started.

    The tone of this fellow, and Rubin, and Oren, and others is strident to the point that one begins to discern desperation. Obama is not going to bomb Iran. Israel will be dooming itself if it goes for a preemptive war. Therefore these people are boxed in, and know it. They respond with tough, almost wild, talk. Will they (or rather, their leaders) go completely over the edge and send in the F-16s? Possible, but I doubt it.

About the Author


Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

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