LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook

David Petraeus Finally Answers His Own Question

by Tom Engelhardt It took 14 years, but now we have an answer. It was March...

Message no image

Published on May 8th, 2012 | by Jasmin Ramsey


Washington’s war of words against Iran

I have an article in the Guardian today about the bellicose rhetoric surrounding the Obama administration’s Iran sanctions policy. In addition to highlighting related policy recommendations from certain hawkish think tankers that regularly make Lobe Log’s “Hawks on Iran” posting, I was also able to interview Paul Pillar, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Hooman Majd and Hans Blix. Here’s how I begin:

The United States claims that sanctions against Iran are designed to convince it to change its behavior on a range of issues, but even the language used to describe them tells a different story. Sanctions are central to the Obama administration‘s “dual-track” strategy – explained as a combination of pressure and engagement intended to increase US leverage at the negotiating table. As Iranians struggle with increasingly “crippling” measures, advocates are justifying the resulting pain as the alternative to war.

No single influential figure has made war with Iran seem like a prospect more than Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, despite warnings against the dire ramifications from key Israeli and western security advisers. Yet it was Netanyahu who inspired more standing ovations during a May 2011 hardline speech to Congress (29 in total) than Obama did during his state of union address in January of that year, and it has been Congress that has been pushing forward the harshest measures against Iran.

While Obama criticized the “loose talk of war” that was rampant during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) conference in March, discussions of sanctions by the administration remain heavily focused on the punitive element – in response to ongoing pressure from Israel and a seemingly pro-Netanyahu Congress. Obama’s unwillingness to match his red line on Iran (acquirement of a nuclear weapon) with Netanyahu’s red line (acquirement of “breakout capability”) is a key reason why relations between the two leaders remain publicly cool. At the same time, the administration’s efforts to project an image of toughness toward the Islamic Republic significantly overshadow any displays of confidence-building diplomacy.

Read more.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.

About the Author


Jasmin Ramsey is an Iranian-born journalist based in Washington, DC.

Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!