Stopping the threat of Iran starts with decisive action

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Until Iran halts its nuclear program, America should stop doing business with companies that supply refined petroleum to Iran.

Due to a lack of oil refinery facilities in Iran, it must import 40 percent of its refined fuel. Halting such imports into Iran will help encourage it to stop its nuclear program and support of terrorism.

Governments who care about security and peace must ban banks from providing credit, insurance or loan repayment guarantees to foreign oil companies that supply fuel to Iran or help expand the country’s domestic refining capacity.

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The United States should prohibit insurance companies from insuring tankers going to Iran. The majority of tankers carrying gasoline to Iran are insured by Lloyds of London, a company that should be forbidden from helping the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.

Here is more that can be done:

 Freeze more Iranian bank assets. In 2007, Bank Melli, Iran’s largest state-owned bank, cashed in its dollar assets for euros. The Iranian banking strategy depends on the euro.

In June 2008, all of the EU’s 27-member states agreed to freeze any assets held by Bank Melli in their jurisdictions. Those EU measures, taken in 2008, signaled growing impatience with Iranian foot-dragging in negotiations over halting uranium enrichment. Now that more time has passed with no changes to the Iranian enrichment program more must be done. The French and German governments must divest their large holdings in Bank Melli Iran.

Issue travel bans. All Iranian government employees and their families should have their foreign assets frozen. They should also be subject to travel bans until Iran is verified to have stopped its nuclear program and support of terrorism.

Ban arms sales to Iran. In 2006, the United States called on all countries to stop arms exports to Iran but much more must be done to verify that it has occurred.

Increase targeted broadcasting into Iran through various communications channels including Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, the BBC and especially private broadcasting entities. Support the democracy activists by broadcasting events inside of Iran so that the activists can more easily learn what is occurring in the various cities and town in Iran.

 Ban Iranian commercial airlines from entering into the European Union for failure to meet international safety standards.

Work quickly and effectively with U.S. allies at the UN’s General Assembly and the G-20 to ensure that Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

Perry Staley, Ironton