Are Sanctions on Iran Effective?

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Today's top nuclear policy stories, with excerpts in bullet form.

Stories we're following today: Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

Foreign Policy: Are the Policies Working Yet? - Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy [link]

  • It's hard to know whether [a] policy is on balance a success or not...But if adopting this policy in one case leads lots of other states to alter their behavior so that they don't face similar actions, then these "dogs that don't bark" are examples of the positive impact of [a policy]...
  • A possible case in point is the attempt to alter Iran's nuclear policy by imposing various economic sanctions on Tehran... sanctions got applied in precisely the circumstances where they were unlikely to work, and we shouldn't be surprised that they failed.
  • But if a few other states were thinking a bit about acquiring nuclear weapons and took a look at Iran's experience, and then concluded that pursuing the bomb just wasn't worth all the aggravation, then Iran's experience might have broader positive effects.

The Defense Secretary’s Exit Interview - Newsweek [link]

  • Out-going Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on nuclear proliferation:
  • ”I think there is a very high likelihood that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons other states in the region will feel compelled to have them. I think it will spark an arms race, a nuclear arms race in the most volatile part of the world.”
  • “North Korea now constitutes a direct threat to the United States. The president told [China’s] President Hu that last year. They are developing a road-mobile ICBM. I never would have dreamed they would go to a road-mobile before testing a static ICBM. It’s a huge problem. As we’ve found out in a lot of places, finding mobile missiles is very tough.”

Iran invites U.N. atom chief to see its nuclear sites - Fredrik Dahl and Michael Shields in Reuters [link]

  • [The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun] Abbasi-Davani said he had invited [IAEA chief Yukiya] Amano "and his colleagues to come to visit anywhere they like in all our nuclear installations."
  • It was unclear whether any such visit would include the kind of access to officials, documents and sites the IAEA wants.
  • Abbasi-Davani...said the two sides pledged to resolve their problems through more dialogue in future … But he did not give any details on what was discussed and there was no sign that he had made any major concessions in the long-running row over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Saudi Suggests 'Squeezing' Iran Over Nuclear Ambitions - Jay Solomon in The Wall Street Journal [link]

  • A leading member of Saudi Arabia's royal family [Prince Turki al-Faisal] warned that Riyadh could seek to supplant Iran's oil exports if the country doesn't constrain its nuclear program, a move that could hobble Tehran's finances.
  • In recent weeks, Riyadh has pressured members of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, to increase production as a way to tamp down global oil prices, a move Iran has strongly opposed.
  • Prince Turki said ... a reduction of Iran's oil revenues could cripple Tehran, which generates half its overall revenues from oil sales. "To put this into perspective, Saudi Arabia has so much [spare] production capacity—nearly 4 million barrels [per] day—that we could almost instantly replace all of Iran's oil production," the prince said.

An Indelible Cold War Symbol: The Complete History of the Fallout Shelter Sign - Bill Geerhart in CONELRAD Adjacent [link]

  • Just as it would be difficult to imagine the Cold War without the Berlin Wall or the American-Soviet "hotline," it would be equally hard to consider this tumultuous era without the instantly recognizable National Fallout Shelter Sign.
  • These distinctive metallic, reflective signs remain the most durable—literally and figuratively—symbol of the Cold War. But how did the sign come to be and who exactly was responsible for its creation?
  • We are very pleased to announce that we have uncovered the complete history of this important American symbol...