UN Sanctions May Sting Iran's Guard
According to recent reports, a
Q: You've been closely following discussions about new sanctions against
A: There's an increasing level of specificity that I'm hearing about in terms of specific revisions, specific wording, and usually that signals that it's close to being a "cooked product." That means it's gotten beyond the issue of concepts. Once it gets to specific language, it's been my experience that usually a resolution results fairly soon. That's what I think generated President Obama's comments about "weeks, not months" after he met with President [
Q: Could you be specific on what the steps are?
A: There is a consensus on a major expansion in the number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard entities whose assets would be frozen. That could harm
Q: What does the Revolutionary Guard do, besides its military role?
A: I wrote a book on the Revolutionary Guards in 1993, The Warriors of Islam. It's a military force when
Q: It's almost a government within the government?
A: In many ways it's comparable to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in
Q: So these are sanctions aimed at these economic entities run by the Revolutionary Guard?
A: They are corporations, but these corporations are believed to be part or totally owned by Guard members, or the Guard itself.
A: The concept of unilateral U.S. sanctions is a wholly different concept. What I've been discussing is UN international sanctions. The
Q: Has that passed the entire
A: There are two versions. The House has passed a version, and the
Q: Is the president likely to sign such a bill?
A: Well, the administration has been very active in trying to shape it. It seems as though the administration would allow it to proceed. They're still, at this point, trying to shape it in the conference. I'm not hearing about a veto threat.
Q: In the
A: Some of the objections have been overcome, through modifying the draft resolution, by taking out some of these provisions that were earlier floated, like banning investment in Iranian bonds [and] the broad authority to search and impound
Q: There are some critics who think sanctions are not the way to go. Is there a consensus in the Iranian expert community on this?
A: There's a consensus that there is a role for sanctions--to enfranchise those still within the regime who believe that
Q: President Obama, with much less fanfare than last year, sent another message to
A: It was a much harder line this year.
Q: Iranians still haven't reacted to his offer to open a dialogue, have they?
A: No they haven't. Within the administration, from what I'm hearing, there is quite a bit of frustration, because the administration feels that they were sincere. This came out in Obama's comments yesterday. He said, "We did have a new track, it was a clear policy, we were trying a new approach, and it just didn't resonate in
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