Sunday 03 Jul 2022 | 09:40 | SYDNEY
Sunday 03 Jul 2022 | 09:40 | SYDNEY

Iran: Are sanctions working?


Rodger Shanahan


12 January 2011 14:56

Reliable intelligence on Iranian capabilities and policies is notoriously difficult to gather. But, fueled by a combination of Iranian intransigence, a permeable sanctions regime, Gulf Arab fears and selective hyping for political and security purposes, popular wisdom has it that Iran will achieve nuclear weapons capability in short order.

However, recent comments by some notable public figures may give pause to those who think Iran needs to be stopped militarily. Secretary of State Clinton said during a visit to Abu Dhabi this week that Iranian technical difficulties had slowed down the nuclear program. And last week, the outgoing head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, told a Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee that the timeline for an Iranian nuclear capability was now out to 2015, due to actions taken against the program (Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to endorse Dagan's view, saying such analyses were 'estimates' only).

Of course, Secretary Clinton's claim that 'sanctions are working' should not be taken as the last word on the subject. As the leading US diplomat, she could hardly say otherwise. Rather, it would be more correct to say that sanctions, along with targeted assassinations, malware such as the Stuxnet computer virus and efforts to entice defections from the program have combined to slow down Iran's efforts.

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