Has Obama thrown Iran sanctions under the bus?
It's very difficult to gauge the accuracy of this piece in Geostrategy Direct - an open source intel newsletter that Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit believes has a good track record. (Hoft's reporting on Iran and the Middle East has been exemplary.)
But the fact that there are several sources saying the same thing - that the US will either seek to remove sanctions from Iran or not enforce them is extremely troubling. This from Hoft's site quoting from the "subscribers only" edition of GD:
The United States has abandoned its policy of sanctioning companies that aid Iran's nuclear and missile program, they said.
The officials said the new Obama administration of has decided to end sanctions against Iranian government agencies or companies that aid Teheran's missile and nuclear program. The officials said Israel has been informed of the new U.S. policy.
"We were told that sanctions do not help the new U.S. policy of dialogue with Iran," an official said.
Barak confirmed the new U.S. policy. In an address to the Herzliya Conference on Feb. 3, Barak said Washington did not say whether it would resume sanctions against Iran.
"We must arrive at a strategic understanding with the United States over Iran's military nuclear program and ensure that even if at this time they opt for the diplomatic option, it will only last a short time before harsh and necessary sanctions are imposed," Barak said.
Obama decided to end sanctions against Iran after determining that the U.S. measures had failed to block Teheran's missile or nuclear weapons program, officials said. Under the administration of former President George Bush, the United States accelerated sanctions on Iran in 2008.
In his address, the Israeli defense minister indicated that Obama had forged an entirely new approach toward Iran. He said the Israeli government has sought a briefing from the new U.S. administration.
A U.S. defense source said the White House would no longer enforce sanctions imposed by the Bush administration. The source said the decision has already been relayed to Iran.
"The administration has abandoned sanctions entirely," the U.S. source said. "It is a completely new ballgame."
This comes on the heels of Obama's new National Intelligence Director Admiral Dennis Blair's bleak assessment that nothing can be done to stop the Iranians from getting the bomb which is another reason to believe some of this report. If the Obama Administration has quietly determined that the opening to Iran is more important than trying to stop them from developing the capability to build a bomb, then it makes sense that they would shelve sanctions (which really weren't hurting Iran much anyway) in favor of dialogue.
The problem, as I mention in that AT piece linked above, is that Obama is giving away the store and getting absolutely nothing in return. These unilateral gestures may play well with the blame America first crowd but are useless diplomatically. Does Obama actually expect the mullahs to do something in return? I suppose the Iranians agreeing to talk with us would be seen as a huge victory rather than a meaningless first step. Such is the workings of left wing ideology rather than an adherence to hard headed diplomatic negotiations.
Giving the Iranians exactly what they want without any reciprocity would have seemed unbelievable a few short weeks ago. But the Obama Administration is doing just that and it is more likely to backfire in their face than accomplish anything useful.