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Iran Sanctions: The Cecil Fielder Strategy

We are so darn smart, we announce finally freezing the assets of the mullah-run Iranian Bank Melli, but only two days after Iran withdraws $75 billion and who knows how many days before the EU actually gets around to 'freezing' whatever might be left in EU banks. If I may summon faint whispers from a favorite childhood television show, "I love it when a good plan comes together."

With President Bush by his side, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced new sanctions against Iran this morning, finally looking to freeze the assets of the mullahs' Bank Melli. Good news, except there's a very real problem in implementation: It comes two days and $75 billion short. You see, once again the West — ever reluctant to act decisively, even on sanctions — has missed the boat which the Iranians captain masterfully, less concerned about public perceptions and much more interested in effective operations.

In Sanctions: EU Horse Chases Iranian Cart at NRO, I offer up a very basic time line. Any further elaboration within it would probably only serve to obscure the point.

Are you embarrassed? You should be. And if someone tries to explain that this is just the way these things work, don't accept it. Change 'the way things work' or cede the war declared on us nearly 30 years ago. Watching ourselves play this game is like watching a lumbering, plodding Cecil Fielder trying to leg out an infield single with all the alacrity of a sloth, while Iran darts about, moving first base and throwing bats at our knees...and laughing.

1 Comment

The sanctions mentioned appear unilateral, and hence may not have full international legal backing. To hold large sums of Iranian money to ransom would not only imply 'prejudice' on the nuclear issue, but would pave the way for protracted legal battles and all the propaganda this would offer the Iranian regime. What has been achieved is to chase Iranian financing out of Europe,so letting Iran know that it is unwelcome for business within the respective area, and no can longer use any prestige offered from working there. Such is the adaptability of the financial world that Irans business will continue relatively unperturbed elsewhere for now, though with its credibility tarnished. Hence any valuation of doing business with Iran will be tipped in its contra somewhat, meaning less profits and less business for the regime. The preparations for the withdrawal of Irans capital in Europe was first published, to my knowledge, on the 8th June.