Letters: Give Iran sanctions time to work

Re “Isolating Iran?,” Opinion, Aug. 28

In their critique of Iran sanctions, Najmedin Meshkati and Guive Mirfendereski argue that Libya demonstrates that penalties do not alter behavior. History tells another story.

By the early 1990s, sanctions by the United Nations Security Council and from elsewhere froze Libya’s global financial assets while cutting access to arms, oil equipment, aircraft maintenance, air travel and diplomatic relations. As the country’s increasing isolation hit the economy and generated unrest, government pragmatists called for an end of the country’s anti-West agenda. Moammar Kadafi relented.


The result contributed to Libya’s decision in 2003 to end its nuclear weapons program. In 2006 the United States reopened the Tripoli embassy.

As with Libya, Iran sanctions give government pragmatists leverage to, at a minimum, press for unfettered access for inspectors to all suspect nuclear activity. Until that happens, all sanctions must remain.

Bennett Ramberg

Los Angeles

The writer served in the Department of State’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Meshkati and Mirfendereski are probably right that sanctions cannot stop Iran’s nuclear program. Since nothing would be worse than a nuclear-armed, radical, terrorist theocracy, a U.S. military campaign to cripple Iran’s nuclear program should begin immediately.

Paul Kujawsky

Valley Village


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