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The Iranian Nuclear Redlines: Where Are They?
Anyone who is following the positions of Israel and the US with regards to the nuclear redlines, those invisible thresholds that trigger something from either country, are vague. Finally, a former CIA officer and the head of Iranian sanctions project, has clarified what exactly they are at this point in time.
For Israel, this redline is April-June 2013. By then, Iran will have enough 20% enriched uranium for at least one nuclear bomb of some sort. For the US, the redline is no later than January 2014. Once Iran processes medium enriched uranium into weapons grade, any military option is not practical, i.e., it is too late.
President Obama has begged others to allow for more crippling sanctions and more time for them to work. If they do work as Obama hopes they will, Iran's economy will be crippled by July 2013, at which point, it is hoped their leaders will decide to surrender its nuclear ambitions. Basically, the clock starts now and has nine months to run for the sanctions to really impact. The problem is that still has $50 billion a year income from oil revenues and has been stockpiling money reserves all along, which will allow it to survive into the Fall of 2013. Iran has not yet been unable to import foreign goods, has not yet had its money, the rial, totally worthless and its population still uses dollars. Thus, damaged, the Iranian public endures from the sanctions.
Crippling sanctions are not yet in place. One is to blacklist Iran's central bank and cut it off 100% from the international banking system. Prohibiting commercial exports to Iran and removing the 20+ waivers or exemptions that allow those countries to buy Iran's oil (China, Japan and others) would be additional blows. Cutting off Iran's access to its foreign exchange reserves and banning foreign tankers carrying oil to or from Iran from calling at U.S. ports would also help.
Would these additional measures cripple the Iran economy? Maybe and just maybe its population would rebel enough to force its government to stop its nuclear ambitions. If not, I guess it is war or look the other way and pray.