James Forsyth

Iran may have crossed the West’s red line - Obama must act

Iran may have crossed the West's red line - Obama must act
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The Times reports today that Iran has perfected the technology needed to make a nuclear bomb and could produce one a year from being given the order to by the Supreme Leader. This is yet another reminder that time is running short when it comes to stopping Iran from going nuclear. Indeed if the Times is right, then Iran has already crossed what used to be regarded as the West’s red line.

To date, the Obama administration’s Iran policy has been—to put it mildly—unclear. But the New York Times today discloses that the US has been in conversation with its allies about attempting to use sanctions to prevent Iran from importing petrol, the country imports 40 percent of the gasoline it uses. The paper says that the sanctions could come into place if Tehran does not respond to Washington’s offer of talks by mid-September.

A gasoline embargo has long been thought to be one of the few things short of military action that could persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. But to be effective it would require both the cooperation of Russia and China and naval enforcement.

Worryingly, there are signs that the US is drifting towards accepting Iran as nuclear power. Note, Hillary Clinton’s recent comments about extending the US nuclear umbrella to its allies in the region. If Israel decides that the United States will not act, it may well decide to take matters into its own hands. Understandably, it is deeply opposed to the patron of two terrorists groups that attack it repeatedly acquiring nuclear weapons.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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