Emanuele Ottolenghi has the counterpoint to Hooman Majd’s op-ed published earlier. He suggests that Iran is a rational actor, and that crippling economic sanctions will convince Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
If Western nations wish to avoid a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf and prevent a nuclear Iran, they must adopt crippling sanctions that will bring Iran’s economy to the brink of collapse. That means a complete United Nations-imposed oil embargo enforced by a naval blockade, as well as total diplomatic isolation. And they must warn Iran that if it tries to jump the last wall, the West is willing and capable of inflicting devastating harm.
Otherwise, Iran’s leaders will rationally conclude that it is better to make a run for their money rather than stop at the last wall and pull back.
Not entirely clear how accurate an assessment this is. Energy-sector economic sanctions won’t just hurt Iran: it will hurt the global economy. Also, diplomatic isolation sounds unwise, given the need for clear lines of communication between Iran and the rest of the world. More dialogue is needed, not less.