currency exchange dealer, Iran_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Obama administration has backpedaled from its tough talk about sanctioning
the Central Bank of Iran, the country’s main financial institution for energy
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that diplomats and
American officials confirmed that robust economic sanctions targeting the CBI
faced steep resistance from other countries.
'World leaders must meet their commitments to stop Iran'
PostScript: When the public gets taken for a ride
David D. Cohen, the US Treasury Department's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, visited Paris, London, Berlin and Rome last month in an effort to convince Europe to consider targeting CBI.
Cohen said: “We are going to continue to look at
those financial institutions that are involved with proliferation activity for
Iran, and continue to try to isolate them from the international financial
Iran sanctions experts, who favor stopping Tehran’s drive to
obtain nuclear weapons, believe that turning the financial screws on Iran’s CBI
could potentially bring the Islamic Republic’s economic system to a grinding
According to the Los Angeles Times
report, Rep. Adam Smith,
(D-Washington) a member of the House Armed Services Committee, disagrees with
Obama’s posture toward the CBI. He urged clamping down on the CBI.
these steps entail huge risks,” he said, but “our best approach is to continue
to ramp up economic pressures.”
While the Los Angeles Times
did list the
foreign countries opposed to sanctioning the CBI, the European Union’s 25
billion-euro plus trade volume with Tehran involves the CBI. Foreign governments
expressed concern that cracking down on the CBI would jolt fragile world
markets, particularly the price of crude oil. Germany, Italy and Greece, to name
just a few EU countries, import large volumes of Iranian crude oil. Russia and
China are vehemently opposed to CBI sanctions.
The Obama administration
is shifting its sanctions strategy away from the CBI to more aggressive
enforcement of existing Iran sanctions, and seeking to persuade some of Tehran’s
key trading partners — including the Persian Gulf states, South Korea and Japan
— to join the US in enforcement.