United Effort on Iran



It is far too early to determine if the recent flurry of economic sanctions against Iran will have the intended effect of halting Tehran's march toward nuclear capability. The activity over the past few weeks reflects a new and sorely needed resolve among key players locally, nationally and internationally that taking a chance on a nuclear Iran is not an acceptable option.

After months — even years — of foot-dragging, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and even the Pennsylvania state legislature have passed the toughest round of sanctions yet aimed at striking a blow at Iran's economy.

While most Jewish organizations are publicly praising the initiatives, there is understandable skepticism that they add up to a case of too little, too late. While we can applaud the actions taken, we must not be complacent.

Rigorous monitoring must ensure that nations and businesses comply with the measures — and make them stick.

According to the ninth annual Pew Global Attitudes Project released last week in Berlin and Washington, most countries surveyed favored a tough stance on Iran, with only Pakistan and India disagreeing.

Even most Arab countries favor strong measures against the rogue state, with respondents in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon among the most supportive of such sanctions, according to the survey co-sponsored by the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation. And in Dubai, there is a reported crackdown on companies doing business with Iran.

The increasing resolve has nothing to do with Iran's existential threat against Israel. Rather, it's the growing recognition that Iran's threat to world security clearly outweighs the profits gleaned from business dealings with it.

For its part, Iran is taking its usual obstinate stance, calling the U.N. sanctions illegal and threatening to cut its ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Iran issue is certain to top Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's agenda when he comes to the White House early next month. Anxious to avert the need for military action to abort or at least slow Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities, Israel has been patiently waiting for the world to act.

Many questions remain, and more action is needed to determine if the confluence of sanctions actually translates into a measurable rollback. Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and international financial intelligence, said that the fourth round of U.N. sanctions marked an "inflection point" in the effort to pressure Iran. But it is up to the United States and its partners around the world to make certain that "we use the tools available to us comprehensively, effectively and collectively."

What happens now may be the best, last hope to peacefully end Tehran's nuclear program before it's too late. 



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