News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for January 5 to January 7:
- The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin, writing on her Right Turn blog, asks whether India is doing enough to enforce sanctions against Iran. Rubin, picking up on The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, writes, “The revelation that the government of India ‘advised oil companies to open individual accounts with government-owned State Bank of India–India’s largest lender–which has a branch in Frankfurt,’ rather than directly with the blacklisted Iranian Trade Bank points to the shortcomings of sanctions.” She concludes, “The real lesson of this episode is that we should be circumspect about India’s — or any country’s — ability and willingness to turn off the flow of cash to the revolutionary Islamic regime.”
- Commentary: Alana Goodman blogs on Commentary’s Contentions blog that “HSBC may be doing a bit of damage control in Foggy Bottom after its pro-Iran ad campaign sparked criticism from the media and foreign-policy experts.” Goodman claims that the ad came up in a “private meeting between HSBC CEO Niall Booker and Jose Fernandez, assistant secretary for economic energy and business affairs, at the State Department on Monday,” according to an anonymous source. HSBC declined to respond to the claim. Goodman repeats Jennifer Rubin’s suggestion the possibility that HSBC “was conducting transactions on behalf of sanctioned entities.” HSBC has been mentioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago as needing to improve its anti-money laundering and terrorist-financing mechanisms but no mention was made of HSBC conducting business with sanctioned entities.
- The Weekly Standard: Stephen Schwartz blogs that Iran is exhibiting the qualities of “other tyrannies before it” by oppressing the country’s Sufis. “Iranian fear of Sufis puts the country’s clerical oligarchs in the same camp with other Islamist radicals from the Balkans to Pakistan, where attacks against the mystics have proliferated along with anti-Western jihadism,” writes Schwartz.
- Commentary: Jonathan Tobin blogs on Contentions that “Iran is still on track to have a bomb in four years.” Tobin says that Western or Israeli “sabotage” operations have delayed the nuclear program and given the West “more time to prepare less-diplomatic methods of ensuring that the tyrannical Islamist regime in Tehran does not obtain the ultimate weapon.” But, warns Tobin, “it is only a matter of time (and perhaps less time than we think) before they succeed.” He concludes, “Stuxnet is not a solution to the existential threat that an Iranian bomb poses to Israel in particular and to stability in the Middle East in general. It is just a delaying tactic.”