Scarcely a day goes by without a major publication running a comment piece arguing that non-military measures are (in the words of the Financial Times’s main op-ed yesterday) “the only hope on Iran.” These op-ed writers then invariably go on to blame the Bush administration for not doing much more on this front.
In fact, the Bush administration are virtually the only ones presently exerting serious non-military pressure to try to persuade the Iranian regime to give up its quest for nuclear weapons, and thereby avoid the need to later use military means to achieve the same result.
Why, one wonders, don’t these editorial writers criticize countries like Germany and Italy, who are continuing to increase their already substantial business dealings with Iran, or write about the unhelpful role of the World Bank?
World Bank Vows a Big Loan to Iran$900 Million for Mullahs, as Zoellick Snubs InquiryBy Eli LakeThe New York SunNovember 5, 2007
WASHINGTON — The World Bank is defying requests from an influential congressman to stall nearly $900 million in loans to Iran.
Earlier this year, the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, who before taking that office served in a top Bush administration foreign policy post, declined a privately made request from Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, to suspend the loans. World Bank spokesmen told The New York Sun that the bank will go ahead with the loans.
Mr. Kirk, who serves on the subcommittee that approves America’s share of the World Bank’s funds, is warning that the loans will undermine recent American and Western moves to exert pressure on Iran. American sanctions on Iran’s largest banks and largest branch of its military are designed to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons and to punish Tehran for its support for terrorism and attacks on American soldiers in Iraq.
Mr. Kirk said that senior National Security Council staff told him that they did not think the World Bank loans were helpful to the American strategy of applying economic pressure to Iran to persuade the mullahs to end their enrichment of uranium in Natanz.