EU Oil Embargo creates Significant Tension with Iran

The European Union has imposed an oil embargo against Iran in addition to freezing the assets of the Iranian Central Bank.  The sanctions are intended to corner the Iranian leadership into softening its position on its nuclear program and agreeing to refrain from acquiring nuclear weapons.  In response to the oil embargo, Iran has threatened to cut off access to the Strait of Hormuz through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies travel.  The United States, has clearly stated its intent to maintain international access to the strait and Ivo Daalder, the US ambassador stated, “the international waterways that go through the strait of Hormuz are to be sailed by international navies including ours…we will make sure that that happens under every circumstance.”

Leaders of the EU have maintained that there is no quarrel with the Iranian people but the intention is to force the Iranian leadership into restoring international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.  The EU and US are urging countries such as North Korea and Japan to join in the oil embargo to heighten the pressure on Iranian leadership even further.  There is a recognized detrimental impact the oil embargo will have on the energy needs of EU states as well as the potential for a sharp rise in oil prices during an already unstable economic period.

Do you agree with the imposition of the oil embargo?  Should more nations follow suit with the EU’s embargo?  How great (or devastating) of an impact will this oil embargo have on oil prices and the global economy?  Is Iran justified in its threats to cut off access to the Strait of Hormuz?  If Iran does follow through on its threat, will the oil embargo and the subsequent action of Iran lead to more violence in the region?  Although the stated goal is an economic strain on Iranian leadership and not the Iranian people, doesn’t the imposition of the oil embargo impact the Iranian people equally?  Or is any such strain on the Iranian people justified?

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One comment

  1. Whether sanctions, specifically an oil embargo, will achieve the United States’ goal of muscling Iran into making some concessions with respect to its nuclear program, depends largely on one’s foreign policy views.

    The argument in support of the oil embargo on Iran is, quite clearly, that Iranian leaders will eventually capitulate if the adverse impacts of the embargo become unbearable to the point that Iran can no longer afford to withstand these adverse impacts.

    The opposing argument, however, is that the oil embargo could actually achieve the exact opposite of that which it seeks to achieve or could cause other unintended negative consequences. The oil embargo could actually entice Iran to further pursue its nuclear ambitions. Separate and apart from this, imposition of the sanctions could drum up anti-American and anti-Eurpoean sentiment among the Iranian people. Unfortunately, the negative affects of sanctions are often felt more by the people of the country upon which the sanctions are imposed rather than the country’s leadership, for whom the sanctions are actually intended.

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