Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has been integrally involved in sanctions formulation. His take is very different than the State Department's: "There is no denying that sanctions have had a devastating effect on Iran's economy. But it's still not enough to make the mullahs abandon their nuclear program. Even a staggering 39 percent drop in oil revenues compared with 2011 would still net Iran $44 billion this year, according to Reuters's estimates. With between $60 billion and $105 billion in foreign currency reserves, [Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei's economic expiration date — when his cash hoard falls low enough to set off a massive economic panic — may still be far off."
Dubowitz recommends: "If Obama wants to bring that date closer, he should make it clear to the supreme leader that he will do everything in his power to destroy Iran's energy wealth. Congress should adopt an idea contained in legislation introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would blacklist the entire Iranian energy sector as a 'zone of primary proliferation concern,' preventing international companies that do business in the United States or the European Union from doing business with it."
This is necessary, he adds, to "counter aggressive Iranian attempts to subvert international sanctions. For the past seven years, the U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned hundreds of financial and commercial entities controlled by the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps], but Iran can spin off new front companies faster than Treasury officials can target them, conjuring up 'clean' entities with which international companies can maintain their business relationships."
Yet it is crystal clear the administration isn't interested in anything of the sort. The State Department believes those crippling sanctions are already in place. But that raises the question: Why hasn't the Iranian nuclear program halted? Why has "diplomacy" collapsed?
We now know sanctions aren't "working." Either the administration should be pushing for more sanctions or it should acknowledge sanctions have failed. They can't have it both ways so long as the centrifuges keep spinning.