On August 10, the United States “imposed sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), for conducting business with Iran’s energy sector.” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said, “The United States remains deeply concerned about the close ties shared by the Iranian and Syrian regimes and is committed to using every tool available to prevent regional destabilization.”
On August 9, Iran hosted an emergency conference on developments in Syria. Envoys from 26 countries attended the one-day meeting including Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Benin, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Maldives, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
On August 1, Congress voted to impose new sanctions on Iran that target companies aiding Tehran’s energy sector. The Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 differs from President Obama’s July 31 executive order by targeting companies conducting business with Iran’s national oil company and tanker fleet, such as insurers and shippers.
(3) urgent consideration of the expansion of existing sanctions with respect to such areas as—
(A) the provision of energy-related services to Iran;
(B) the provision of insurance and reinsurance services to Iran;
(C) the provision of shipping services to Iran; and
(D) those Iranian financial institutions not yet designated for the imposition of sanctions that may be acting as intermediaries for Iranian financial institutions that are designated for the imposition of sanctions;
On August 1, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned that “all options” are on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, including “military options.” At a joint press conference with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Panetta admitted that although sanctions are having a “biting” impact, the United States and the international community will have to take further steps to stop Tehran.
But if they don't, and if they continue, and if they make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon, as the minister has pointed out, we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that that does not happen.
On July 31, the State Department reported that Iran is the world’s “leading” state sponsor of terrorism. According to the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011, Tehran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force to support additional terrorist activities and “implement foreign policy goals.”
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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