Pro-democracy Iran activists accomplish more than the Obama administration

Ed Lasky
We have had one year of dilly-dallying by the Obama administration on efforts to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The Obama team has ignored its own deadlines; weakened efforts at sanctions; delayed and derailed efforts in Congress to tighten the screws on Iran; and generally, just bowed and scraped and begged for a handshake and photo opportunity with the mad mullahs.

Leadership of various established activist groups concerned about Iran have had about as much luck engaging with the Obama team as Obama has had trying to engage with Tehran. What should concerned people do?

We live in the era of the tea party. People can take the reins of power and bring about change. All it takes is some gumption, courage, and creativity. One activist group, United Against a Nuclear Iran , has shown the way. They have persuaded Caterpillar to stop dealing with Iran with a billboard and a dollop of shame.
 

Caterpillar Inc. has prohibited its non-U.S. subsidiaries from accepting orders known to be headed to Iran, the heavy-equipment manufacturer said in a letter to a lobbyist group.Caterpillar, of Peoria, Ill., has acknowledged in the past that its equipment is sold in Iran despite U.S. sanctions that prohibit most American exports to the Islamic Republic. The company has said its foreign subsidiaries have conducted limited sales to independent dealers outside Iran, which resell to customers inside the country. Caterpillar has said those sales have been in full compliance with U.S. export regulations.

As recently as late last year, closely held Arya Machinery, with offices in Tehran, marketed itself on its Web site as Iran's exclusive dealer of Caterpillar equipment. A senior sales executive at the company told The Wall Street Journal in October that Arya buys equipment from a Caterpillar subsidiary in Europe.

The lobby group that claimed credit for Caterpillar's reversal, United Against Nuclear Iran, has turned up the heat recently on U.S. and European companies. The group is led by a number of former Democratic and Republican national-security officials, including R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton. UANI President Mark Wallace was a deputy campaign manager for former President George W. Bush in 2004 and then served as an ambassador-level diplomat to the U.N during the Bush administration.

UANI recently erected a billboard near Caterpillar's Illinois headquarters featuring Caterpillar equipment and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The billboard read, "Today's work/Tomorrow's Nuclear Iran? Stop Cat's Business in Iran." UANI said it would take the billboard down after Caterpillar's decision.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal, points out, "There is no indication that the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, that enforces sanctions, has raised issue with Caterpillar's Iranian sales."

The Obama administration's own Treasury Department asleep at the switch? Sacrebleu! The Iranians will not be asleep at the switch, nor the Israelis. Or does the Obama team just not care? Pathetic and apathetic are two words to describe the Obama strategy on Iran.

Regardless of the answer, a small group of activists have shown that a photo and a few words placed in the line of sight of executives and employees going to work can accomplish wonders. This is a lesson the Tea Party has shown us. We have been liberated from the command and control system that has helped to shackle us and dissuade us from acting and acting up. Thomas Paine ("we have it in our power to begin the world again") would be proud.

 

 

 



We have had one year of dilly-dallying by the Obama administration on efforts to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The Obama team has ignored its own deadlines; weakened efforts at sanctions; delayed and derailed efforts in Congress to tighten the screws on Iran; and generally, just bowed and scraped and begged for a handshake and photo opportunity with the mad mullahs.

Leadership of various established activist groups concerned about Iran have had about as much luck engaging with the Obama team as Obama has had trying to engage with Tehran. What should concerned people do?

We live in the era of the tea party. People can take the reins of power and bring about change. All it takes is some gumption, courage, and creativity. One activist group, United Against a Nuclear Iran , has shown the way. They have persuaded Caterpillar to stop dealing with Iran with a billboard and a dollop of shame.

 

Caterpillar Inc. has prohibited its non-U.S. subsidiaries from accepting orders known to be headed to Iran, the heavy-equipment manufacturer said in a letter to a lobbyist group.

Caterpillar, of Peoria, Ill., has acknowledged in the past that its equipment is sold in Iran despite U.S. sanctions that prohibit most American exports to the Islamic Republic. The company has said its foreign subsidiaries have conducted limited sales to independent dealers outside Iran, which resell to customers inside the country. Caterpillar has said those sales have been in full compliance with U.S. export regulations.

As recently as late last year, closely held Arya Machinery, with offices in Tehran, marketed itself on its Web site as Iran's exclusive dealer of Caterpillar equipment. A senior sales executive at the company told The Wall Street Journal in October that Arya buys equipment from a Caterpillar subsidiary in Europe.

The lobby group that claimed credit for Caterpillar's reversal, United Against Nuclear Iran, has turned up the heat recently on U.S. and European companies. The group is led by a number of former Democratic and Republican national-security officials, including R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton. UANI President Mark Wallace was a deputy campaign manager for former President George W. Bush in 2004 and then served as an ambassador-level diplomat to the U.N during the Bush administration.

UANI recently erected a billboard near Caterpillar's Illinois headquarters featuring Caterpillar equipment and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The billboard read, "Today's work/Tomorrow's Nuclear Iran? Stop Cat's Business in Iran." UANI said it would take the billboard down after Caterpillar's decision.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal, points out, "There is no indication that the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, that enforces sanctions, has raised issue with Caterpillar's Iranian sales."

The Obama administration's own Treasury Department asleep at the switch? Sacrebleu! The Iranians will not be asleep at the switch, nor the Israelis. Or does the Obama team just not care? Pathetic and apathetic are two words to describe the Obama strategy on Iran.

Regardless of the answer, a small group of activists have shown that a photo and a few words placed in the line of sight of executives and employees going to work can accomplish wonders. This is a lesson the Tea Party has shown us. We have been liberated from the command and control system that has helped to shackle us and dissuade us from acting and acting up. Thomas Paine ("we have it in our power to begin the world again") would be proud.