I have an op-ed on Iran sanctions in the East Texas Review today – I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that the website’s version only adds to its charm.
Some highlights are below:
Unfortunately, the Iranian government isn’t that vulnerable to gasoline sanctions. Under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has both increased its refining capacity and enacted a more effective rationing program. These moves have significantly decreased its need to import petroleum products.
Instead, gasoline sanctions would inflict widespread economic hardship on the Iranian people, including those who took to the streets last year to protest what they said was Ahmadinejad’s rigged re-election. If our country forces regular Iranians to pay more for the gasoline they use every day, it won’t, as some suggest, cause a further rift between the people and their government. Rather, gasoline sanctions would inflame anti-Americanism that the regime can then exploit to further its own anti-democratic interests.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful wing of the Iranian military that supports terrorists abroad, should be a primary target for any sanctions. Yet the Guard Corps may actually benefit from the proposed sanctions, since they could give its smuggling activities a boost. Even the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that supports these sanctions, acknowledged that the Guard Corps “is least likely to be affected” by this type of effort.
If Congress ultimately passes unilateral gasoline sanctions this year, Ahmadinejad would have a convenient excuse for delaying negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and continuing to stifle dissent. Are these counterproductive outcomes worth it just so a few members of Congress can go home and brag to their constituents that they are “doing something” about Iran?
Leadership isn’t about doing something. It’s about doing the right thing.