Today the President signed an executive order freezing all Iranian government assets held or traded in the U.S. This order is the latest in a series of sanctions that have been placed on Iran by the European community and the U.S. The new sanctions include blocks on the Iranian central bank. The move comes quickly after the President said that Israel and the U.S. were “in lockstep” regarding their policies on Iran. These sanctions are an unwise move that will serve only to encourage anti-western rhetoric in Iran, and will damage an already suffering Iranian economy.
The animosity between Iran and the west is escalating. The assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist (almost certainly carried out by Israeli intelligence), economic sanctions from Europe and the U.S., British and American Navy ships in the Persian Gulf, and unconfirmed reports that Israel will strike Iran as soon as April are all kindling to the neoconservatives’ fire.
What seems to be constantly overlooked is the fact that economic sanctions and assassinations will only unite a country that has a legitimate opposition. As has been noted here at TAC before, if there is one issue that will dilute the political opposition in Iran, it is foreign intervention. The backlash against a pre-emptive western strike against Iran would be severe enough without the economic hardship which our sanctions are placing on the country.
The President in his State of the Union said that no option was off the table in regards to Iran, and we should believe that he means what he says. It is a shame that the President who campaigned so heavily on the follies of the Iraq war is now engaging in eerily familiar rhetoric.