Sunday, May 14, 2006

Treasury To Take Lead In Sanctions Against Iran

Veteran Washington Post reporter (now op-ed columnist) Jim Hoagland--an "international type" of the old school--today gives a glimpse of the U.S. plan for sanctions against Iran:

The Treasury Department, not the Pentagon, holds the key to the next steps if the United Nations does not mandate action against Iran. The asymmetric weapon of choice is Treasury's ability to deny foreign banks and firms access to the lucrative U.S. market if they cooperate with an international outlaw. The market-access threat recently helped blunt North Korea's counterfeiting of U.S. currency and would be devastating to the investment flows Iran needs to rebuild its deteriorating oil industry.

But Washington must act as if it has gone to the limits of its ability to consult and compromise with its partners before taking actions that will affect French, Russian and other international enterprises. And acting as if a deal is possible with Iran is the only way to get Moscow and Beijing to support the effort...

"We are in a who-blinks-first game," Bush said of Iran to a recent White House visitor. It is in fact a who-thinks-first, and best, game.

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