Tehran is having a harder time importing food and other key goods, its foreign investment is drying up, financial firms and shipping companies are turning down its business, and its central bank is running short of hard currency.
What sanctions are not doing, however, is achieving their goal – to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Not only is Iran making more progress in its nuclear program, it’s acting more boldly in its region, threatening U.S. interests while distributing weapons that are killing U.S. troops.
Because neither current nor additional sanctions alone will deter Tehran, and because a nuclear Iran would be a disaster for the United States and the world, Washington must seriously consider a military option.
Such an option – ranging from an embargo on vital goods to a covert sabotage of Iran’s nuclear sites to an overt strike on them – brings two benefits.
First, a believable U.S. threat of force might get Tehran’s attention, forcing the regime to ponder whether its nuclear pursuit is worth a military confrontation. Second, military force ultimately might be the only way to destroy Iran’s program or slow it down significantly enough to avert a disaster.
Sanctions are hard to enforce under any circumstances, and those against Iran are no exception. Reuters reported recently, for instance, that China and Iran are discussing how to construct a barter system to bypass U.S. sanctions that make it hard for countries to do business with Iran in dollars.