Najmedin Meshkati and Guive Mirfendereski argue in the Los Angeles Times that sanctions against Iran have been ineffective at substantially curbing its alleged nuclear ambitions:
Policies of restriction or containment through sanctions and economic mechanisms do not work. In a porous world, sanctions are largely ineffective. Sanctions didn’t change the behavior of Saddam Hussein or Moammar Kadafi (despite what some think, other factors forced Kadafi to disarm hisnuclear program) or affect North Korea, and Cuba has survived in spite of comprehensive U.S. sanctions. Where a U.S. sanctions policy has been successful, it has been coupled with constructive or positive engagement: the ending of apartheid in South Africa and of communism in Eastern Europe, Arab-Israeli peace (through U.S. engagement of Jordan and Egypt), protection of intellectual property in China — all have come about because of influence through involvement.
Proponents of further tightening of the so-called crippling sanctions or the oxymoronic “smart sanctions” on Iran point to the significant drop in Iran’s oil exports, shortage of foreign currency and the economic hardship in Iran as evidence of the effectiveness of sanctions. However, the sole intended consequence of all these sanctions has been zero insofar as scaling back or curtailing Iran’s nuclear program.