Daily Israel Report

Obama’s ‘Sanctions Czar’ in Israel, Says More Needs to be Done

David Cohen, President Obama’s point man on sanctions, told Army Radio Monday sanctions against Iran are “biting” but not enough.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/4/2012, 11:29 AM

Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Reuters

David Cohen, President Barack Obama’s point man on sanctions, told Army Radio Monday sanctions against Iran are “biting” but not enough.

Cohen, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, stated on radio, "The sanctions are having an impact on Iran, but I also recognize that more needs to be done. And we are intent on doing more."

His appearance on Army Radio may have been intended to show that Israel and the United States are cooperating concerning sanctions as part of American pressure on Israel not to consider a military attack on Iran.

Cohen is scheduled to visit Britain and Russia to discuss sanctions on Iran and Syria as the United States tries to win more international support for using economic pressure to convince Tehran to cooperate with United Nations nuclear inspectors.

The administration also has shown its frustration with the inability of anyone to stop Syrian President Bashar Assad from continuing to mow down civilians on a daily basis in his do-or-die effort to squash opposition.

Russia has been one of the biggest obstacles in front of tough sanctions against Iran and Syria, where Moscow has a heavy investment in terms of weapons sales and the construction of nuclear facilities. China is another major obstacle but is not on Cohen’s tour.

Cohen told reporters last week that Russia agrees with President Obama that Assad must step down but does not agree on the methods.  Following the massacre of 108 people in Syria last Friday, dozens more Syrians have been killed with no end in sight.

Moscow continues to oppose any foreign intervention but agreed on Sunday to support a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria for the murders on Friday. However, the resolutions, like other statements by world leaders and several “ceasefire" agreements, have had no impact on Assad.

Similarly, the international community continues to try to “engage” Iran to accept supervision of its nuclear sites while evidence continues to mount that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is playing a game of buying time while his nuclear officials try to bury any signs of activity that would prove that work has been taking place for the design and production of a nuclear weapon.