As Iran moves closer to building a nuclear weapon, sanctions against Tehran have failed because of trade ties and fears of economic chaos.
The IAEA is expected to issue a public report this week disclosing evidence pointing to what everyone unofficially knows – the Islamic Republic is trying to build a nuclear weapon and has enough enrich uranium to do so.
Iran also is developing the capability to use the material, according to reports prior to the IAEA release. CBS reported, “A satellite photo of an Iranian military base shows an enormous steel container apparently used to secretly test the high explosives needed to trigger a nuclear weapon.”
"They know how to make a crude or a nuclear weapon that they could test underground,” according to former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright, who has seen much of the evidence.
He hastened to add that Iran still is 1-4 years away from being able to use the weapon against enemies. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened several times to annihilate Israel, which he once called a “cancer.”
The Obama administration’s attempts to ‘engage” Ahmadinejad have been a failure, and economic sanctions have proven to be weak, partly because of China and Russia’s vested interests in Iran’s nuclear development and their dependence on oil and gas from Iran. China needs Iranian crude for its growing economy.
However, President Barack Obama and European allies also are partly responsible for not taking stiffer action against Iran, and the reason appears to be fear of economic chaos that might result from actions, such as putting the Central Bank of Iran on its blacklist.
The Obama administration wants to slap sanctions on the bank, which handles most of the country’s energy transactions, but Britain, Germany and other European countries have resisted the move, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Squeezing the Central Bank of Iran could cripple the Islamic Republic, but there are fears that the sanctions could result in an economically lethal spiral of oil prices. Also at stake is the European Union’s $35 billion trade with Iran.
The newspaper stated that President Obama backed down from going ahead with sanction on the bank and instead is trying to convince the Gulf States, South Korea and Japan to go along with other sanctions now in effect.
A key Democratic Congressman, Adam Smith of the State of Washington and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that “all these steps entail huge risks, but our best approach is to continue to ramp up economic pressures.”