Senators Want ‘Crippling’ New Iran Sanctions

92 Senators call for sanctions on Iran's central bank, despite risk of humanitarian suffering

by John Glaser, August 09, 2011

A bipartisan group of 92 U.S. Senators signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to impose additional sanctions on the Iranian regime. “The time has come to impose crippling sanctions on Iran’s financial system by cutting off the CBI,” the senators wrote, referring to the Central Bank of Iran.

The Senators, led by Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), promised “strong bipartisan support in Congress for the imposition of sanctions,” support that largely comes out of paranoia about an Iranian nuclear program for which there is no evidence.

In May, the U.S. imposed sanctions on foreign companies doing business with Iran’s energy industry in ways Washington considers potentially “illicit” and on 16 non-U.S. companies and individuals for aiding weapons and missile programs in Iran. The new suggested sanctions would target Iran’s central bank in an attempt to freeze Iran out of the global financial system.

But the first round of sanctions, although significant, has not noticeably altered the Iranian approach. Various hawks in Washington have come out in support of the letter, despite recently recognizing that sanctions are not effective in changing policy.

Apparently hoping nobody is paying attention, supporters have called for these sanctions to be “crippling,” proudly referencing those imposed against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1990s. Not only did those sanctions have no favorable effect in Iraq’s policies, but they are also known to have directly contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and up to one million Iraqis total.

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