Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims North Korea’s recent nuclear test shows that “sanctions alone will not stop” Iran’s atomic program, according to the Associated Press.
Another reasonable conclusion would be that sanctions – credible military threat or not – are ineffectual and counterproductive tools of coercion in the first place. Historically, sanctions have not produced their stated aims. Iran and North Korea are just another example of that.
Furthermore, Netanyahu’s complaint, that sanctions won’t undermine Iran’s nuclear program unless accompanied by a “robust, credible, military threat,” is strange considering that is exactly what Iran has been faced with. Washington has Iran militarily surrounded and, along with Israel, threatens military action consistently.
The Prime Minister’s real complaint, apparently, is that Washington hasn’t endorsed – and carried out – military action against Iran.
Some commentators criticize the Obama administration for not threatening Iran with annihilation enough, but as former Obama adviser Vali Nasr writes in his new book, “Engagement was a cover for a coercive campaign of sabotage, economic pressure and cyberwarfare.”
Hawks in the US and Israel continue to claim Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, despite a consensus in the intelligence community that Tehran has not decided to do so. The manufactured threat serves powerful bureaucratic and geo-political interests.