Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank that has advised Congress on sanctions legislation, says this is the time to intensify sanctions. He notes that there are 8-10 Iranian banks that have not been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department and 14 Iranian banks that have not been barred by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT, a Brussels-based organization that facilitates international financial transactions.
Dubowitz also advocates designating Iran's energy sector as a "zone of proliferation concern" barring every energy-related transaction except for oil trades allowed under legislation passed last year. (The Obama administration has exempted Japan and 10 European countries from these new sanctions because they have "significantly reduced" their purchases of Iranian oil. The administration has until June 28 to persuade other countries buying Iranian oil to follow suit.)
Dubowitz also seeks imposition of comprehensive sanctions banning foreign firms from insuring any transaction considered a sanctionable activity under U.S. law.
"When the Iranian regime stops enrichment, ceases the construction of more centrifuges, admits that it has engaged in weaponization activities, and agrees to intrusive inspections under the Additional Protocols, then the U.S. administration can consider stopping sanctions," he told Al-Monitor in an email.
"Iran is at the table because their oil wealth is now under the greatest threat since the days of the Iran-Iraq War," he said. "And only intensifying sanctions, and the regime's belief that the U.S. has the will to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program if it doesn't yield, can create any chance of a negotiated agreement that meets the requirements of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."
Iran will certainly not go as far as Dubowitz demands anytime soon. Claiming that its nuclear program is peaceful, it insists on continuing some uranium enrichment though it might accept curbs on the level of enrichment as well as more thorough inspections.