UN Iran Sanctions: They Work!

Matt Duss:

In a just-released report, a special panel of United Nations experts declared that the multilateral sanctions adopted under a U.N. Security Council Resolution in June 2010—sanctions that the Obama administration worked hard to pass—are having a significant impact on Iran’s ability to proceed with its nuclear program. The new measures “are constraining Iran’s procurement of items related to prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile activity and thus slowing development of these programs,” the panel reported.

The sanctions, which include the freezing of assets and travel bans on specific regime members, have “clearly forced changes in the way in which Iran procures items” related to its nuclear program, according to the report. What’s more, the report also notes that “Member States are taking a more active role in the implementation process, strengthening export controls, and exercising vigilance through their financial and regulatory bodies, port and customs authorities.” [emphasis mine]

That last part is probably the most significant bit from the Security Council report.  Sanctions are only as strong as the political will of member states to enforce it.  All too often regimes under sanction are able to skirt those sanctions because of lackadaisical enforcement. What this report seems to show is that the United States has placed a high premium on making sure these sanctions are implemented to the greatest extent possible.