My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Friday, August 06, 2010

There's more to be done regarding Iran...

Time to double our efforts on sanctions....
A report released yesterday by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies identifies 18 companies that continue to have substantial energy operations in Iran. They include Russia's Gazprom, China's Sinopec, Venezuela's PdVSA, Turkey's Tupras, and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corporation. The report also lists Western giants such as Germany's ThyssenKrupp, which remains involved in Iran's refining and petrochemical sectors, and the Linde Group, which supplies LNG technology to support Iran's natural gas developments.

One useful step the Obama Administration and its European partners could take to give the sanctions more bite is to fine companies that continue to violate the sanctions act. That's just what the U.S. did with Holland's ABN Amro, Britain's Lloyd's Bank and Switzerland's Credit Suisse when it discovered they had provided financial services to the Islamic Republic in contravention of American laws. "The fines didn't hurt America's relationship with these allies but sent a ripple of fear throughout the financial sector and helped persuade other banks to terminate their Iranian ties," says FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz. "Equivalent penalties on Iran's foreign energy partners will send the same ripples of fear in the energy industry."

Beyond sanctions, the U.S. and Europe might do more to support Iran's brave pro-democracy movement. That movement is desperate for secure communications technology such as satellite phones, satellite subscription services and secure LAN cards. Hillary Clinton gave a moving speech earlier this year on the importance of Internet freedom, but a source tells us the State Department has been less than helpful in waiving export restrictions to get that equipment to the Iranians who desperately need it.

It would also help if President Obama gave dissident Iranian exiles some face time in the Oval Office, both as a statement of principle and a message of defiance against the rulers in Iran. Considering how well a year's worth of his polite overtures went over with the regime, he could do worse than to repay its contempt in kind.


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