WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing a line of sanctions to target the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which control local banks and other organizations related to the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
The American effort is aimed at driving a wedge between the Iranian public and the Revolutionary Guards which are responsible for crushing any sign of anti-regime sentiment and are promoting the nuclear program.
Officials in the US administration told the New York Times Wednesday that the decision's draft, which was handed over for the review of the six powers and will be voted on in the Security Council, includes a list of companies and assets belonging to the Revolutionary Guards. Among them is the Tehran airport.
It is clear in Washington that the sanctions would only prove successful should Russia and China agree to them. Both countries, which have a veto right in the Security Council, conduct business with the Revolutionary Guards.
US President Barack Obama said Tuesday during a press conference that Russia is being cooperative but admitted that China's support has not been guaranteed yet. The Americans are trying to persuade the Chinese that it is in their own national security interest to act against Iran.
“If you’re China, you do a simple cost-benefit analysis on the impact on oil prices,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “With an Israeli strike, oil prices would skyrocket.”
However, US administration officials were unwilling to make predictions when asked if they believed that they had Beijing’s support.
China publicly opposes imposing sanctions and wishes to continue negotiations with Tehran.
While trying to recruit the Chinese, American officials are urging Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to reassure Beijing that they would offset any cutoff in oil shipments that could result from its support of sanctions.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be visiting the Persian Gulf region next week and will hold a series of meetings with Qatari and Saudi leaders, during which she will raise the issue of oil supply to China. Issues pertaining to Israel and Iraq will also be discussed.