The US and some of its allies managed to get the big shipping firm Maersk to stop serving Iranian ports. Is this a big win for the US against Iran's nuclear program and government?
After two years of failed efforts to entice Iran with diplomatic carrots, the Obama administration is quietly toasting successes at using economic sticks. A series of U.S. and international sanctions imposed over the past year have slowly undermined Iranís ability to conduct trade by targeting the countryís access to international banking, insurers and transportation companies. Like Maersk, some firms voluntarily cut ties with Iranian companies that U.S. officials say are front operations for the Revolutionary Guard.
How can trade sanctions by Western governments make much of a dent in an era when China is factory to the world? Unless China wants to stop selling Iran stuff (and China needs Iran's oil) whatever the US and its allies decide will have only marginal impact on Iran. That impact will decline with time. This is one of the ways US influence is declining. US export controls mean less and less every year as other countries develop industries of their own that make a growing list of stuff that the US doesn't even make any more.
Iran has 52 drilling rigs active versus Saudi Arabia's 68 rigs. So it doesn't sound like Iran's oil industry has ground to a halt. As long as the oil keeps pumping the Iranians could just buy ships and cruise those ships to south Asian and east Asian ports to buy stuff.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2011 July 24 02:15 PM MidEast Iran|