News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for December 23-27, 2010:
- The Weekly Standard: Stephen F. Hayes blogs on a report that a member of Iran’s Qods Force, serving as a Taliban commander, has been arrested in Afghanistan. Hayes writes that this capture disproves the commonly held belief that Iran and the Taliban are adversaries and provides further evidence that Iran has been providing “increasingly lethal support” to the Taliban. “And yet senior Obama administration officials have either downplayed the seriousness of Iran’s support or ignored it altogether, despite a never-ending series of reports from the U.S. military that such coordination is happening,” he concludes, adding that NATO forces in Afghanistan (as ISAF) have retracted their claim that the man was part of the Qods Force.
- Commentary: Jonathan S. Tobin, writing on Commentary‘s Contentions blog, offers his take on The New York Times’s exposé on the limited number of U.S. companies who have received exemptions from the trade sanctions against Iran. (See our coverage of the article here.) “While the purpose of the statute that allows for exemptions was to provide humanitarian aid, the Obama administration has let things like chewing gum, sports equipment and even hot sauce be sold to Iran,” writes Tobin. “In light of these revelations, it’s clear that sanctions will never work to halt the march of this terror sponsor toward nuclear capability,” he warns. “After reading this shocking story, there’s little doubt that Ahmadinejad and his tyrannical Islamist confederates are laughing at us.”
- The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin, writing on her Right Turn blog, interviews Israeli ambassador Michael Oren who warns that sanctions “…have not impacted Iran’s nuclear behavior. Now [the Obama administration is] talking about ‘ratcheting up’ the sanctions. That’s good but the ultimate test is whether Iran will cease enrichment on its soil.” Oren emphasized that for both the United States and Israel “all options remain on the table.” But when pushed for specifics ways of indicating to the Iranians that the threat of force was real, he responded “There are ways to communicate that [a military option is real] to the Iranians.”