The New York Times

February 12, 2010

To the Editor:

Re “Time’s Up” (editorial, Feb. 10):

The urgent need for stronger sanctions against Iran should be obvious. Yet some key powers have been unwilling to put aside narrow interests and unite in confronting this threat to peace and security.

It has been two years since the last Security Council sanctions resolution. Iran has ignored that measure as defiantly as it snubbed earlier United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency actions. Tehran has also spurned overtures by the United States and its partners to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Iran has stayed the course by concealing uranium enrichment facilities, building a network of tunnels housing a variety of nuclear equipment, and developing long-range missiles. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is up for renewal this year, is imperiled by Iran’s stance.

One sanction option, often mentioned but not yet carried out, would have direct impact by curtailing Iran’s oil imports. Yes, one of the world’s top oil producers imports at least 40 percent of its refined petroleum. That is an Achilles’ heel if there ever was one, and there are others. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, for instance, has become a state within a state, and its economic interests depend on external links.

The nuclear clock is ticking. A nuclear Iran would be a global game-changer. It’s high time, in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s words, for truly crippling sanctions.

Richard Sideman
American Jewish Committee
New York, Feb. 10, 2010