November 23, 2011

Iran News Roundup 11/23

Iran highlighted at Republican debate

At last night’s Republican primary debate the candidates discussed Iran at some length. Here are some of the notable positions they talked about:
Herman Cain suggested he would support an Israeli attack, and if their plan was strong enough he would “join with Israel” for the strike.
Ron Paul rejected aiding an Israeli attack, saying Israel can handle themselves and paraphrasing the former head of Mossad Meir Dagan said that an attack against Iran would be the stupidest thing to do in the world.”
Rick Perry advocated Central Bank of Iran sanctions, saying that they “will shut down that economy.”  He also tied the idea of a no-fly zone on Syria as a way to demonstrate U.S. resolve regarding Iran.
Newt Gingrich said that a strategy of energy independence could “break the Iranian regime” within a year, and that we should be “sabotaging the only refinery they have.”
Michelle Bachmann again repeated her false claim about Ahmadinejad, saying,  “he has said that if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel of the face of the earth.  He will use it against the United States of America.”
Mitt Romney acknowledged that sanctioning Iran will negatively impact the U.S. economy by increasing gas prices, but said it is a necessary cost cost to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
(Click here for the complete transcripts)
Responses to the latest round of sanctions
Following the announcement of new sanctions against Iran experts have begun questing their effectiveness.  Robert Dreyfuss writes in The Nation, the new untargeted sanctions are “dumb” and will not change Iran’s decision making process.  He says that they are only being introduced to “buy more time for the Obama administration” politically (Dreyfuss The Nation 11/22).  A Washington Post editorial argues that the sanctions are “half-measures” and will increase the likelihood that military action will be required later (Washington Post 11/22).  Iran responded to the sanctions claiming they will “be in vain” and will not affect their ability to do business with other countries (Reuters 11/22).  While many are questioning the impact that these latest sanctions will have on Iran, the Christian Science Monitor and others have reported that they already have increased the price of oil (Christian Science Monitor 11/22).
Additional Notable News:
Iran’s English press outlet Press TV reported that the Iranian parliament has approved a bill downgrading their ties with Britain.
Yesterday, National Security Advisor Tomas Donilon spoke at a Brookings Institute event, where he expressed the administrations belief that their policies have already had a negative impact on Iran’s economy.
The latest IAEA report, contrary to its portrayal in the press, is largely a compilation of information about Iran’s nuclear program that was already known, according to a piece in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists by Thielmann and Loehrke.
Jamsheed Choksy writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed argues that a military strike against Iran would set back their nuclear program back years and could loosen the unpopular regime’s hold on power.

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