(Washington) – A leading U.S. senator in charge of efforts to target Iranian economy suggested the sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s Central Bank will be a major step to avoid of a military conflict.
Iran and the West are at odds over the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions. The United States and its European allies have imposed additional sanctions on the clerical regime after the United Nations Security Council passed four rounds of sanctions on Iran.
“If we do not sanction the Central Bank of Iran, then we make conflict between Iran and Israel very likely,” Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) said in an interview with the Voice of America’s Persian News Network when asked whether the West is reaching the end of the road of diplomacy with Iran.
Washington named Iran last week as an area of "primary money laundering concern," a move to deter non-American banks from dealing with the Iranian banks under section 311 of the “USA Patriot Act,” and also expanded sanctions to target companies that aid its oil and petrochemical industries as well as blacklisting more people involved in its nuclear work.
The Republican senator from Illinois said he is committed to diplomatic efforts as a senator, but warned that “if we not do the sanction, I would basically expect then military action, and then we would be working as a senator to support U.S. allies in the region.”
The West has long been insisting on a diplomatic solution to clear its concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but they, as well as Iran’s regional arch-foe Israel, have refused so far to rule out a military action on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Analysts believe a military strike on the world’s fifth biggest oil exporter causes further tensions in the Middle East and in the world’s energy market as Iran has warned that it will respond to any attacks by hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf.
Director of research at The Washington Institute Patrick Clawson, in remarks broadcast at the same show explaining why Iran’s Central bank has not been designated as a target for the U.S. sanctions, said Washington concerns of not having full cooperation of the world at the current stage.
“We don’t want to target the Central Bank unless we get quite certain that we are going to have cooperation from countries like China,” Clawson, who directs the Iran Security Initiative, said adding that all that’s going on in the world of economy like the European debt crisis strengthened the U.S. concerns.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Wednesday that Beijing opposes any unilateral sanctions against Iran and said “We believe pressure and sanctions will not fundamentally solve the Iranian issue, but will complicate the issue.”
“What in fact the U.S. is showing is that actually there is lots of ways that Unites States can turn up the pressure on Iran. And that remains true, there’s many more that U.S. could do,” Clawson said.
He further predicted that Iran will agree to resume negotiations with the world powers within a few months “as a confidence building measure.”