News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations:
The Washington Post: Glenn Kessler reports that the chief sanctions enforcer at the U.S. Treasury is tightening up loopholes by specifically designating people and companies who are known to front internationally for Iranian state financial interests. Twenty-one businesses and at least four individuals from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force were named. Two of the named military men were singled out for support of Hezbollah (considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.) and two for “financial and material support” to the Taliban.
House of Representatives: Liberal Mideast hawk Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and über-hawk Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced that they are forming a Working Group on Iran Sanctions Implementation. “We will continue to pressure and isolate Iran until it terminates its illicit nuclear weapons activities. A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable,” the members of Congress said in a statement. The Working Group will “meet on a regular basis with Administration officials, foreign ambassadors, and outside experts to oversee and verify enforcement of Iran sanctions implementation,” as well as hold a hearing on the subject in the fall. Both Berman and Ros-Lehtinen are favorites of the right-wing Israel lobby, for whom “crippling sanctions” have long been a top priority.
Reuters: U.S. State Department Special Adviser for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn was in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday encouraging the Japanese government to ramp-up its sanctions effort. Japan, which buys Iranian oil, announced that it adopted a sanctions program similar to that of the UN, and said further measures might be on the way. Einhorn, noting that Japanese access to Iranian oil would not be in play, urged them to follow the model of the European Union, which recently enacted a tough unilateral sanctions package.
Radio Free Europe: RFE interviewed the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Office in Vienna, Glyn Davies. Davies addressed the hysteria (on both the left and right) over Adm. Mike Mullen’s comments on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday. “[Mullen] said that [the military] option is on the table, [but] we don’t want to use that. And that’s the point of the diplomacy that’s under way today. Let’s avoid that. Let’s do everything we possibly can to avoid a non-diplomatic solution, or a military solution,” said Davies.