Recommended Reading

  • The Iran Project, “Weighing Benefits and Costs of International Sanctions Against Iran,” (12/3/12): “The decision to make international sanctions a centerpiece of its Iran strategy has enabled the United States to build an unusually large coalition of nations concerned about Iran’s nuclear intentions and its support of violent non-state groups. But this effort has also had some geopolitical costs for the United States, and fault lines are developing in the alliance, giving Iran some options for offsetting the impacts of sanctions.

  • International Crisis Group, “Spider Web: The Making and Unmaking of Iran Sanctions,” (2/25/13): “With war a frightening prospect and fruitful negotiations a still-distant dream, sanctions have become the West’s instrument of choice vis-à-vis Iran. They are everywhere: in the financial arena, barring habitual commercial relations; in the oil sector, choking off Tehran’s principal source of currency; in the insurance sector, thwarting its ability to transport goods. Without doubt, they are crippling Iran’s economy. But are they succeeding? By at least one important criterion (the intensity of Western concern over nuclear progress), plainly they are not...Sanctions are not necessarily counterproductive. But, too easily they become a path of least resistance, a tool whose effectiveness is assessed by the harm inflicted, not how much closer it brings the goal.” 

  • CSIS, “U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition; Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change,” (7/22/13): “The push toward enhanced sanctions and growing international isolation of Iran may also push Tehran towards new strategic options. Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and conspicuous missile testing are evidence that it may react to pressure in ways that lead to prolonged confrontation. Tehran may see military threats, exercises, and pressures on world oil prices as a possible way of easing sanctions and/or buying time for its nuclear and missile programs.” 

  • Congressional Research Service, “Iran Sanctions,” (10/11/13): “Increasingly strict sanctions on Iran—sanctions that primarily target Iran’s key energy sector and its access the international financial system—have harmed Iran’s economy to the point where Iran’s public and some of its leaders appear willing to accept some international proposals to limit Iran’s nuclear program to purely peaceful purpose.”
  • Center for a New American Security, “The Great Unwinding: Iranian Nuclear Negotiations and Principles for Sanctions Relief,” (October 2013): “Ultimately, as part of a confidence-building deal with Tehran, some near-term sanctions relief may be possible through the temporary suspension of certain punitive U.S. and international measures. But a significant “unwinding” of sanctions will require a sustained period of concrete and verified Iranian actions to put real constraints on their nuclear program.”