The toothless response from the West has not deterred the mullahs. So what now? The Europeans want to negotiate. They will do anything to avoid the war the Iranians are itching to provoke. And certainly another Wilsonian adventure would be as misguided and foredoomed as the last two. Still, something must be done. Iranian nuclear scientists should be careful getting into their cars. But not all that careful. “Iran to continue nuke program despite new sanctions,” from MSNBC.com, January 23:
Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET: Hours after the European Union imposes an oil embargo and sanctions on Iran’s central bank, France, Britain and Germany say they are willing to negotiate with Iran if it is ready to talk seriously about its nuclear program.
“We call on Iran’s leadership immediately to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities and abide fully by its international obligations,” the European countries say in a joint statement. “Until Iran comes to the table, we will be united behind strong measures to undermine the regime’s ability to fund its nuclear program.”
In response, the offices of Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issues the following statement, according to NBC News:
“We welcome today’s decision by the European Union to ban imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank, and take additional action against Iran’s energy, financial, and transport sectors.”
Updated at 12 p.m. ET: Iran says a European Union decision Monday to impose new sanctions over its nuclear program is “psychological warfare,” Reuters reports.
“… Imposing economic sanctions is illogical and unfair but will not stop our nation from obtaining its rights,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast is quoted as saying by state television, referring to Iran’s nuclear energy ambitions.
Updated at 11 a.m. ET: Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the European Union was wrong to impose an oil embargo on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, The Associated Press reports.
“It’s apparent that in this case there is open pressure and diktat, aimed at ‘punishing’ Iran for uncooperative behavior. This is a deeply mistaken policy, as we have told our European partners more than once. Under pressure of this sort, Iran will not make any concessions or any corrections to its policies,” the ministry says.
Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised a European Union decision to place sanctions on Iranian oil exports, Reuters reports. “I think this is a step in the right direction,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of his Likud faction in parliament. “For now, it is impossible to know what the result of these sanctions will be. Heavy and swift pressure is needed on Iran and the sanctions must be evaluated according to their results.”…