Monday, January 16, 2006

How To Beat Iran Without Missiles

Atlas Shrugs analyzes our options on Iran:

The New York Sun reports a committee led by the French, which includes America and other European powers, is drawing up a list of sanction options likely to influence any resolution put before the U.N. Security Council next month.

A committee led by the fwench is not encouraging, considering they have already said TALK OF SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN IS PREMATURE: FRANCE.

The list includes limiting the travel of Iranian diplomats; restricting their membership in international organizations; expelling known intelligence officers attached toIranian embassies; limiting Iran’s import of dual-use items that could be diverted to its nuclear program, and — at its most punitive — banning the export of refined petroleum to the country, which imports 40% of the refined petroleum it uses.

The travel ban is bullshit, the ban on the export of refined oil into the country is the ticket. The government heavily subsidizes the oil industry in Iran. It's a huge government stipend and they could ill afford a wild spike in refined oil prices. It would break the fiscal back of that regime and cause great civil disobedience.

Iran is not omnipotent.It's a minority regime, they are vulnerable. They are highly dependent on the world for trade, for legitimacy, for popularity at home. Their economy is a basket case as it is. If you start shutting down their ability to import, they don't even have refining capabilities. So nothing can run in Iran without imported oil from Europe so there's enough leverage to make them stop. Most of their imports are from the West are industrial goods. They need those imports to operate their factories. They already have very high unemployment. What would happen if somebody got up and said NO MORE FACTORY PIECES, NO MORE MACHINERY FOR YOU? Think of the implications of that would have inside Iran.

They are not all powerful, they are highly vulnerable. They make it appear that they are all powerful........and everyone believes them, but they are an empty shell.

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions on this.


Krishna109 said...

If there were to be a boycott, I wonder if Russia and China would participate? If these two powers continued to "do business as normal" with Iran, how effective would a boycott be?

Pastorius said...

It wouldn't be, would it? And, the thing is, I suspect Russia and China like the idea that Iran is causing us problems.

Oscar in Kansas said...

It will never work. Look at the dismal failure of the sanctions regime in Iraq, a country that a UN coalition had defeated in war. Iran has not been defeated. It's a much bigger country with more money to throw around. Neither Russia nor China would go along with any meaningful trade restrictions for more than the shortest of terms. The rest of the non-Western world won't either.

And don't under-estimate the ability of the Iranian people to endure hardships brought on by any sanctions. Sure many people don't like the mullahs but as I think we have seen in other countries that people blame the foreign powers, not their own leaders.

The mullahs would use the sanctions to play the nationalist / Shi'ite martyrdom card against the foreign oppressors and smuggle, bribe and extort the essential equipment they need.