from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for January 7th, 2011:
The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin, writing on her Right Turn blog, asks whether India is doing enough to enforce sanctions against Iran. Rubin, picking up on The Wall Street Journalâ€™s reporting, writes, â€œThe revelation that the government of India â€˜advised oil companies to open individual accounts with government-owned State Bank of Indiaâ€“Indiaâ€™s largest lenderâ€“which has a branch in Frankfurt,â€™ rather than directly with the blacklisted Iranian Trade Bank points to the shortcomings of sanctions.â€ She concludes, â€œThe real lesson of this episode is that we should be circumspect about Indiaâ€™s â€” or any countryâ€™s â€” ability and willingness to turn off the flow of cash to the revolutionary Islamic regime.â€
Commentary: Alana Goodman blogs on Commentaryâ€™s Contentions blog that â€œHSBC may be doing a bit of damage control in Foggy Bottom after its pro-Iran ad campaign sparked criticism from the media and foreign-policy experts.â€ Goodman claims that the ad came up in a â€œprivate meeting between HSBC CEO Niall Booker and Jose Fernandez, assistant secretary for economic energy and business affairs, at the State Department on Monday,â€ according to an anonymous source. HSBC declined to respond to the claim. Goodman repeats Jennifer Rubinâ€™s suggestion the possibility that HSBC â€œwas conducting transactions on behalf of sanctioned entities.â€ HSBC has been mentioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago as needing to improve its anti-money laundering and terrorist-financing mechanisms but no mention was made of HSBC conducting business with sanctioned entities.
The Weekly Standard: Stephen Schwartz blogs that Iran is exhibiting the qualities of â€œother tyrannies before itâ€ by oppressing the countryâ€™s Sufis. â€œIranian fear of Sufis puts the countryâ€™s clerical oligarchs in the same camp with other Islamist radicals from the Balkans to Pakistan, where attacks against the mystics have proliferated along with anti-Western jihadism,â€ writes Schwartz.
Commentary: Jonathan Tobin blogs on Contentions that â€œIran is still on track to have a bomb in four years.â€ Tobin says that Western or Israeli â€œsabotageâ€ operations have delayed the nuclear program and given the West â€œmore time to prepare less-diplomatic methods of ensuring that the tyrannical Islamist regime in Tehran does not obtain the ultimate weapon.â€ But, warns Tobin, â€œit is only a matter of time (and perhaps less time than we think) before they succeed.â€ He concludes, â€œStuxnet is not a solution to the existential threat that an Iranian bomb poses to Israel in particular and to stability in the Middle East in general. It is just a delaying tactic.â€