The Daily Talking Points

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.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



  1. If sanctions actually caused Iran to abandon its nuclear program (which I don’t for a moment believe will happen) what would the “bomb Iran” crowd’s reaction be? Would they find a new excuse for war with Iran? That to me is a very interesting hypothetical.

  2. seems the following agree with Glyn Davies:

    ” Obama Warned Israel May Bomb Iran
    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
    By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
    August 3, 2010

    We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war. ….

    …Sadly, our former colleagues tell us that politicization of intelligence analysis did not end with the departure of Bush and Cheney…and that the problem is acute even at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research….”

  3. The VIPS people certainly have impressive credentials on paper. Yet they worried in 2003 that Saddam Hussein would use chemical weapons against invading US forces — a scenario that was implausible at the time, and in the event did not occur. Now they are hyperventilating about Israel attacking Iran this month. Yet they present no real evidence to back up their claim.

    Cautious judgements are the mark of the true intelligence professional, I think. One gets the impression that VIPS, lacking influence, tries to make a splash by announcing that Armageddon is around the corner. If they do it often enough, eventually they may be right.

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