Iran Sanctions Might Not be Working: GAO

With $20B in energy contracts, economic pressure easy to dodge
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2008 3:01 PM CST
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, left, talks to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Ziguangge in Zhongnanhai in Beijing Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Negroponte met with Wen ahead of planned...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Sanctioning Iran may not have actually worked, the Government Accountability Office said yesterday, just as the US pushes for a fresh round of UN sanctions. Restrictions on state-owned banks are easy to circumvent, the report notes, and Iran has signed $20 billion in energy contracts since 2003. The “evidence raises questions about the extent of reported economic impacts,” the report concludes.

The National Security Council should conduct a “baseline assessment,” to figure out just what effects, if any, the sanctions are having, the report urges. The US, meanwhile, has been meeting with UN Security Council nations, trying to shore up support for more sanctions. President Bush’s Middle East jaunt has been punctuated with warnings about and to Iran.