Pariahs in Tehran

Kenneth M Pollack
Kenneth M Pollack Former Brookings Expert, Resident Scholar - AEI

October 28, 2010

The most interesting thing about the Obama administration’s Iran policy is that it is working, but it probably isn’t going to work.

The United States has achieved some truly remarkable feats in pursuit of the White House’s Iran policy over the course of the past twelve months, achievements many critics from left, right and center all thought impossible. With perseverance and perspicacity, and some help from the stupidity of the Islamic Republic’s leadership, Washington has secured widespread backing in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East for imposing various new sanctions on the country.

Of greatest importance, in June 2010 the administration secured the passage of a new un Security Council resolution (number 1929) that imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran for its failure to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) and its failure to cease its nuclear-enrichment activities. In concert with France, Britain and Germany (and some quiet help from Israel, Saudi Arabia and the uae), the United States convinced both Russia and China to agree to the new resolution as well. Resolution 1929 bans arms sales to Tehran, something most thought unthinkable given the Russian and Chinese ardor to continue profiting from that market. It also included language that enabled member states to impose harsh new financial controls and limits on investment in the Iranian energy sector.