August 8, 2018

US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

, ratcheting up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.” (AP News)

National Security Adviser John Bolton “insisted economic pressure from the Trump administration is not an attempt at ‘regime change.’” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added, “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.” (AP News)

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The left does not think these sanctions will be effective without EU support, and has serious concerns about the US possibly trying to bring about regime change.

“When these punitive economic measures become the go-to option for every grievance, they lose their meaning… At their most effective, sanctions are the product of multilateral efforts to solve clearly articulated, shared global-security concerns. Now they are becoming strident expressions of displeasure from an isolated United States, often wielded in service of domestic partisan priorities—a careless approach that may well neutralize the effectiveness of these powerful tools.”

The Atlantic

“The lack of unified foreign support for the sanctions will mean lots of loopholes, more complicated enforcement, and many more arguments between the U.S. and European governments than in the past, sapping the diplomatic strength needed to engage China, India, or others that do business with Iran.”

The New Yorker

“The Trump administration says its goal is to actually help the Iranian people by forcing the regime to change its ways... The question now is if the Trump administration’s gambit — to see if greater financial costs on the Iranian regime will force it to abandon its nuclear ambitions — will work. In the meantime, it’s the Iranian people who will mostly bear the burden.”


“It’s true that protests have picked up steam in recent months and spread throughout Iran, but they aren’t the type that peacefully topple a system that has all the guns. The struggles of surviving daily life will make political organizing more of a challenge than it already is. The protests are still not anything like a mass movement. They are the legitimate and disparate demands of people living under the weight of immense pressure.”

Washington Post

“Make no mistake: The purpose of President Trump’s revived sanctions against Iran is to foment the overthrow of its government. The questions: Will the tactic work; and, if it does, who will step into power? The answers: Probably not, and they won’t be pro-American democrats.”


“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right supports the sanctions, with some even advocating for further steps to bring about regime change.

The right supports the sanctions, with some even advocating for further steps to bring about regime change.

“Iran’s leaders desperately need to open a channel of dialogue with the United States as the deterioration of the Iranian economy, a crucial pillar of the state, continues to accelerate daily... If the regime wishes to survive the current, rapidly growing unrest, it needs to make some major concessions since all indicators suggest that the worsening economic meltdown in Iran has pushed the long-suffering people to a breaking point.”

Daily Caller

“Targeting the fanatical Tehran regime's foreign currency reserves, transportation sector, minerals, and debt, these sanctions will restrict Iran's ability to threaten regional and international security... Iran now knows that Trump means business... This could lead to a new understanding by President Hassan Rouhani and his European enablers that compromise with Trump is the best option.”

Washington Examiner

Counterpoint: There is “no good reason to reimpose sanctions that were created to pressure Iran into making concessions that it has since made... Reneging on sanctions relief after the sanctioned government complies with U.S. demands is disreputable, and it tells other sanctioned governments that they should think twice before making any agreements to obtain sanctions relief.”

The American Conservative

Others argue that “while the new U.S. sanctions are a great step, the Trump administration needs to also continue and even increase support for Iranian dissident groups... The street protests by the Iranian people have sent as clear a message that the Islamist fundamentalist government does not represent the will of the people. It’s hard to see how the regime will ever be able to win back the trust of its citizens after decades of misrule and human rights violations.”

Fox News

“Sure, regime change could be chaotic, lengthy and bloody. It could lead to an even more repressive, dictatorial and cruel leadership than the current one. Then again, it may liberate the Iranian people and, more likely, end Tehran’s pursuit of the most dangerous arms and the spread of global violence and terrorism.”

New York Post

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Does my sweaty T-shirt turn you on? At a pheromone party, singles try to match using only their noses.

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