No seats on flights for Iran

Sanctions have not deterred Iran's nuclear aspirations, perhaps stopping air service would.

Iran nuclear talks in Istanbul 300 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Tolga Adanali/Pool)
Iran nuclear talks in Istanbul 300 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Tolga Adanali/Pool)
Time for action against Iran is narrowing. Shortly the United States will have no option but to go to war with Iran or accept it as a nuclear power; this the country that has stated it intends to destroy Israel and likely the "Great Satan," the US, as well.
The current regimen of sanctions applied against Iran, including barring their membership in SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the international clearing house of banking, have had little effect, other than to disrupt their economy. There is no indication the measures have caused the regime to reconsider its determination to acquire nuclear weapons. On the contrary, there are indications that Iran's efforts have accelerated, even as they offer us a fresh round of “negotiations."
There are few arrows left in our quiver of potential sanctions that would do sufficient damage to Iran to dissuade it from its current course.
There is one last arrow left in the arsenal that will pierce Iran's soft underbelly. Daily commerce moves day to day as though we were dealing with a normal country. One can book a flight to Tehran on any number of major European air carriers, such as Lufthansa, KLM, or Air France and a plethora of smaller regional airlines.
Precisely who is flying to and from Iran, and for what purposes? They can't all be rug merchants. How many Hezbollah operatives take advantage of this easy access in establishing cells in Western countries? One wonders. A crew member with the German airline Lufthansa once confided to me that the flight staff are treated like kings in Iran. I asked why. The answer, "because we killed so many Jews."
lt would be easy for the United States to declare to all airlines that they cannot serve Iran if they wish to do business with us. Further, we will not tolerate the servicing of any ancillary airline by a major carrier, or that carrier will find that our sanction extends to them as well.
The immediate cessation of all air service to and from Iran would profoundly disrupt the country's already fragile economy. The moribund tourist industry would gasp its last breath. All types of air cargo, packages, and mail would grind to a halt. Iranian officials would find it difficult to cultivate relations with a host of malignant governments, such as Venezuela and Bolivia, short of using email.
To tighten the garrote one more turn, we could also apply the sanction to all passports issued by the Iranian government. Currently, Venezuela willingly supplies false passports to Iranian operatives, but with the sanctions, they would need to significantly ramp up their black-market industry to keep up with the demand.
An airline embargo would bring with it a number of other benefits. Barring Iran from banking with SWIFT does not stop a country which historically has used couriers to move money. An airline embargo would help plug that hole.
In addition, an air embargo would exacerbate the rift between "Nazis with turbans" and wealthy Iranians who are accustomed to easily boarding a flight to Paris or London to load up on a list of infidel goodies that they can’t get at home.
Frankly, we should try and make the Islamic Republic even more Islamic. We should help deprive them of the western inventions manufactured by hated infidels. The list is long and would include computers, cell phones, eyeglasses, medicines ad infinitum but most assuredly, air transportation.
It would be an interesting experiment to see how long the "Nazis with turbans" can stay in power after a full air embargo is applied.
The writer is a former airline executive, former military intelligence officer, and was a member of the Reagan administration.