Who’s in favour of sanctioning Iran?

An excerpt from my article in Al Jazeera English where I name some of the most dominant groups that are pushing for sanctions against Iran.

The loudest, most influential organisations pushing for sanctions against Iran have an open pro-Israel agenda, regardless of their positioning on the political spectrum. The best resourced of all is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), self-described as “the most influential foreign policy lobbying organisation on Capitol Hill”. AIPAC lobbied aggressively for the recent bellicose bill proposals, featuring them and its lead sponsors on the front page of its website. Sanctions are “having an impact” and “more are needed”, the accompanying captions read. AIPAC is also a key backer of the push to sanction Iran’s central bank, a move that some Iranian officials consider an act of war.

Supporting Israel’s alarmist stance on Iran is a group of hawkish Washington-based think tanks such as the Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FDD). The FDD features several “experts” who regularly appear in news media and have briefed the US government. Executive director Mark Dubowitz campaigns for “crippling sanctions” on Iran’s energy sector and compares sanctions to warfare. “Gasoline sanctions are not a silver bullet”, he said in 2009. “At best they are silver shrapnel.” Inherent in Dubowitz’s language about Iran are frequent allusions to “killing” and other violent imagery. “The Iranian energy industry is now in a slow-motion death spiral,” he wrote in January – while pitching recommendations to “accelerate its demise”. To “punish” the Iranian government, Dubowitz agitates for a complete embargo on Iranian oil, designating the Central Bank of Iran as a terrorist entity and sanctioning China, India and “companies that continue to do business in Iran’s energy sector”.

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Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.