Economic sanctions safest option for US to send message to Iran


If you are like me and have been religiously following the news about the possibility of Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons, you may be as alarmed about the situation as I am. I have really been struggling with the consequences that could arise from Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons.

Could this lead to another arms race similar to the Cold War of the 1960s? Could this lead to nuclear fallout or war? Could Iran use these potential weapons to take down other world powers? These answers may seem ambiguous right now, but the closer Iran comes to possessing nuclear arms, the more intimidating the answers become.

As a concerned citizen of the United States of America, I am alarmed at the potential of any nation’s possession of nuclear weapons. However, living in a nation that has taken action and plans on taking more action where Iran is concerned, I feel the safest solution is the continued use of economic sanctions, as well as a potential invasion if sufficient proof of nuclear weapons is presented.

Many nations, including both the United States and Iran, have signed such treaties as the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite this, there is still a possibility that Iran is constructing or could potentially come into possession of nuclear weapons.

I feel economic sanctions have been one of the United States’ and many European nations’ strongest signals that they will not accept the creation of nuclear weapons on an international level.

According to a Feb. 6 New York Times article by Thomas Erdbrink and David E. Sanger, “… [O]il exports from Iran have dropped by a million barrels a day, and … the free fall in the currency has caused huge inflation — a result of American- and European-led sanctions as well as economic mismanagement by the Iranian government. The West escalated the economic war another notch on [Feb. 6], imposing a new set of restrictions intended to force Iran into what amounts to a form of barter trade for oil, because payments for oil deliveries can no longer be sent to accounts inside Iran.

“A senior Obama administration official called the latest step ‘a significant turning of the screw,’ repeating the administration’s four-year argument that the mullahs here face a ‘stark choice’ between holding on to their nuclear program or reviving their oil revenue, the country’s economic lifeblood.”

Economic sanctions are acknowledged by a 1997 CRS Report for Congress as being generally defined as “coercive economic measures taken against one or more countries to force a change in policies, or at least to demonstrate a country’s opinion about the other’s policies.”

Economic sanctions are one of the best actions the United States and European nations could have taken against the potential creation of Iranian nuclear weapons. By crippling Iran’s economy, these governments show that their top priority is protecting their own people. Because of the government’s refusal to change their ways in response to the economic sanctions, the people of Iran have suffered.

Right now, there is a lack of sufficient proof that Iran actually possesses nuclear weapons. However, if the nation is taking the direction it appears to be, it will only be a short period of time before there is enough evidence to prove they possess nuclear weapons. When that time comes, I can see an invasion of Iran following shortly.

Even though there are already many armed forces serving in the Middle East, I feel this situation is as high-risk as those we faced with the Taliban, Hezbollah or al-Qaida. As sketchy as the behaviors and actions of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and former president, invasion seems almost inevitable.

It is important that citizens of the United States keep informed about issues of nuclear war, especially in regards to a nation like Iran, which has been leaving out information and dancing around the truth. United States citizens should be thinking about the potential of another arms race, which may be coming sooner rather than later.

Jakki Thompson is a sophomore in journalism and mass communications, women’s studies and American ethnic studies. Please send comments to