U.S. commander says Iran sanctions not working
March 5th, 2013
02:53 PM ET

U.S. commander says Iran sanctions not working

By Adam Levine

Severe sanctions against Iran are not working, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East says.

Gen. James Mattis of Central Command made the statement at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.

"In your professional opinion, are the current diplomatic and economic efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability - are they working?" Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, asked.

"No, sir," Mattis replied.

Mattis later told Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, that Iran's "nuclear industry continues."

"I think we have to continue sanctions, but have other options ready," Mattis replied.

Mattis said Iran might be able to be swayed by "a purely cost-benefit ratio."

"Between economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and encouragement of behavior that does not cost them such a degree of political support that they end up losing power, there may yet be a way to bring them to their senses," Mattis said.

Asked by Graham if the only other option is bringing them "to their knees," Mattis responded, "yes, sir."

"The means, there are a number of means to do that, perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that's one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president," the Central Command chief said.

Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN's Jill Dougherty in an interview conducted in Doha, Qatar, that the United States was willing to sit down with Iran, but the country needs to prove it has only peaceful purposes for its nuclear program.

Over the weekend, Iran's ambassador to the United States told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Iran was open to direct talks.

"I'm willing to do what the president instructs me to do, and the president calls that shot. But he has already made it crystal clear, going back several years, that the president is prepared to engage with Iran," Kerry said in his first interview with CNN since becoming secretary of state.

"He prefers a diplomatic solution to any kind of military option. And he has said that he is prepared to engage in bilateral conversation. So that option is open."

Iran's ambitions were also the focus of a meeting between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Hagel said the United States believes the "window is closing" on diplomacy, according to a summary of the meeting provided by the Pentagon.

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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Military • Sanctions
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  63. Dannyboi

    These sanctions AKA pieces of paper saying don't do this and that, are obviously not working. Its not working in North Korea and its not working in Iran. I am totally against being involved in other peoples business, But we need to do something. We need to have a worldwide law prohibiting the making of any nuclear weapon and it needs to be enforced militarily. This stuff has to stop. Personally I think it would be a good idea to destroy any and every nuclear bomb making facility in the world. If these countries want to make nuclear weapons, The plants should have to be on ground neutral to all countries, Like Antartica. Build your nuclear weapons there and have them regulated out the yin yang, Have to receive permission from a board of leaders from every country in the world to access them. Thats how it needs to happen.

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    March 8, 2013 at 9:00 am | Reply
  66. StanCalif

    So the sanctions aren't working, no big surprise. The real game going on is the military needs a new war because we're out of Iraq and getting out of Afghanistan. What to do with all that hardware over there and unemployed Generals?

    March 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  67. fjm1235

    Sanctions havent & will not work to get Iran to stop their nuke program. Force of arms is the only way. Diplomacy has failed miserably here. Decades of failed diplomacy.

    March 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      You are right! We, the USA, do a terrible job in diplomacy! This has been going on for decades, just as you say.
      Our diplomats are very niave, no "street smarts" at all! What happened to the "reset button" given to Russia? Nothing! We don't know how to talk with Putin, and subsequently ignore him. A strong and friendly relationship with Putin could solve many problems, but we do nothing. Hillary flew all over the world but spent little time with Russia. Meanwhile, Putin builds a huge pipeline to sell more gas to Europe. He doesn't need tanks, soldiers or nukes to take over control of Europe! Every gas valve is on Putin's desk. What the hell do you think he has in mind?
      Putin is a bigger threat to the West than NK and Iran combined!

      March 8, 2013 at 7:54 am | Reply
  68. Peace On Earth

    All you fanatic A holes on all sides – remember war is NOT the answer. On the otehr hand, respect, rule of law by ALL countries and good intentions by ALL countries is what we need on this small planet, otherwise, we will all within a couple of generations have to seriously look at immigrating to anotehr planet and probably within a few hundred years we'll ruin that planet too.

    I find it very interesting that only a handful of countries have nuclear weapons, and teh major ones (US, Russia, China, UK, and France) are the only ones on the Security Council, which is a jock and they only have veto rights – none of these countries ever allow others join the permenant SC members, and they veto propsals that is not to their advantage, or against one of their allies and wait..........they are the same countries/members who dictate otehrs cannot have nuclear weapons. In fact one of tehse countries has actually used nuclear weapons and other WMD's against others (ALL third world countries) in wars. I believe we have a word in our languarge for this kind of people....it is called HYPOCRITE. I wish all countries woud abolish nuclear weapons. We all have enough classical weapons to kill teh entire planet several times over. Instead spend the money on eduacting people, teaching tolerance, teaching ALL religons are bogus – if there really is a God, and he has all this power we talk about, then doesn't need Jesus, Moses, Mohamad, and others who claim they are his representatives to come on earth to tell us about him. If he exists and is as powerful as some seem to think, why doesn't he get rid of pain, intolerance, wars, murder, WMD's, ....... unless he eitehr doesn't exist, or is not as nice as some say he is.

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  69. Tom

    If Iran want's a nuclear weapon let's give them a couple..

    March 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Mark Ayres

      Exactly the ugly American response that the world has come to expect. Every naive American comment like this convinces countries like Iran that their only hope of avoiding an American pounding is to get nuclear quickly. They are racing to accomplish it and I'll wager they will have them before we ever "give them a couple".

      March 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  70. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015. Ha ha ha

    March 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son


      March 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • southbaydave62

      John...if you are going to Post then please check your facts first. As to your incorrect assertion that the US is the only country to ever shoot down a civilian plane....I am thinking you are naive about the Korean Air Line plane shot down by the Soviets by one of their fighter planes after he had visual contact of that plane in International airspace under peace time conditions..unlike the Iranian plane that was shot down by US missiles that was shot down in a Hot war zone as the US ship had already come under attack that day by Iranian gunboats in International waters.The US navy had already sent out a No Fly warning to all local air traffic controllers...including Iranian whom by the very definition of Air Traffic Control...Flew their own civilians Into a hot war zone. I passed this line of logic by my 3rd grade 8 year old who correctly answered Who killed Whom? He got it right the first time around...you have it backwards. Would you like to try again? Have you passed your 3rd grade exams on logic yet?
      On your blind accusations of how many "innocent Iraquis" the US soldiers killed in Iraq...were you there on the ground counting KIAs with bullets whizzing by you? Or are these "facts" just more misconscrewed logic on your part?
      When I was serving my country in Iraq I found it very difficult to accurately count opposing forces KIAs while under fire and after skirmishes often times the enemy would collect their dead before US forces could declare an area safe to move about in. When did you do your counting? How did you ascertain your "accurate body counts"? How many armed opposing forces did you kill who were trying their very best to kill you? I know I killed the fu#k out of anyone firing on me and am proud of it. In war there is only one winner at the end of the day...the guy or gal that is still alive. There is no second place finisher.
      On your comments regarding the US...I seriously hope you never get to be a citizen of our great free land..the people that died for you in all our wars so you can be a safe and prosperus hypocrite would rather spit in your eye before they listened to the likes of you!
      America...Love It or Leave It!

      March 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
      • saibu dauda yesufu

        you have said it all southbaydave62,God bless you.

        March 7, 2013 at 7:44 am |
  71. dcgreer

    Where is my previous post?

    March 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  72. bill

    Iran has been under Sanctions for decade's this lil Nuke issue Irans been told play nicely, UN says Show the world what you building. If its for good we go away.. ok?.. Iran say's well we guess so.. UN shows.. Aww changed our mine.. Go away UN.. The Same Games been play for how long? Now Isreal... totally diffrent Story.. Like Isreal has done before... Iran's People Will Hear Isreal's Jet Fighters.... FULL AFTERBURNES...

    March 6, 2013 at 3:02 am | Reply
  73. The Anti-Christ

    Everything is going according to plan. Your going to have a real eye opener coming soon.

    March 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  74. Iraj Roshan

    Well, how'bout dismantling Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for Americans to finance yet another war with yet another lunatic (Ahmadinejad) and make the IPAC (pro-Israeli lobby) happy?

    March 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • JohnathanA

      Imbecilic suggestion.
      Back to your cave Abdul!

      March 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • franklovesfl

      I'm ok with that

      March 6, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
  75. Randy Robinson

    Im not an expert, but it appears as though the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Meaning the sanctions are hurting the peaceful people of Iran who dont have adequate funds, while the Rich people of the government could care less about the sanctions, because they and their loved ones are well taken care of. A country who openly claims to want to wipe another country off the face of the earth does not want peace. Dont kid ourselves either, Israel is not the only country in danger, if Iran could and had the power too they would love nothing more than to take a bomb and blow up one of our college stadiums with sixty plus thousand in attendance.

    March 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • JohnathanA

      Who are the nice people of islam?

      March 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • TheMan

      Bane beat them to it.

      March 6, 2013 at 2:44 am | Reply
  76. Lonny

    Sanctions have only made Iran stronger, by making them self reliant. Something that a lot of our fellow Americans could stand to learn.

    March 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • ipploit

      I would disagree with that statement, Iran is not stronger. In fact overall they are militarily weaker. The sanctions failed to stop the nuclear program but that should not be a surprise to anyone, sanctions are stupid.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
    • JohnathanA

      Iranians are having to pay double and tripple pre-sanction price for most foods. This makes the people pretty peaced off with the leadership. Lies will not advance your cause.

      March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      @Lobby,wrong bud,just depending on more outsiders to give to their wims than before as countries like Russia,China and others give humanitarian aid but at a cost,crude oil!!Iran would be an island of to itself if it weren't being influenced by outside communist countries telling them basicly to hang in there because these same countries that are fighting for Irans cause will ultimately benefit from Irans vast crude production facilities being first to barter for that one commodity!!If Iran would come around it'll help their countries people and Irans government really doesn't care about them do they!!

      March 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  77. Hahahahahahhaah

    Translation: We're ready when you are Israel. Hahahahahahhaha

    March 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • What

      Iran really believes Israel won't bomb the tar out of them...

      March 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • fjm1235

      No they arent (ready).

      March 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  78. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    March 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • What

      You sound like a new generation American.
      Complain complain complain. Complain Complain. Blame someone. Repeat.

      March 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
      • Gordon

        How do you know he is American? Its a phoney name anyway, mate. Check out the english... This is the official line in iran. Thats probably where he is sitting.

        March 6, 2013 at 6:24 am |
    • ipploit

      Ever heard of KAL 007.

      Also I highly dispute your claim of 1,000,000 dead innocent Iraqis. I have no doubt that some innocent Iraqis died but quite honestly better innocent Iraqis than innocent Americans.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
    • David

      youre a communist in my eye!!!!!

      March 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      @JohmSmith,aren't you that famous Mormon moron..Hey quit posting the same crap on all sites,either be original or stay off,plain and simple nitwit!!

      March 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
      • sam157

        @Pete: John Smith a Mormon? hahahha i think you forgot that Romney was all for blasting the shiz out of Iran and anyone else who threatened the US. Let this fool express himself, he's probably in the Iranian government or something and will be dead or out of a job soon enough. I agree though, his random crap is annoying, especially since he just re-posts the same garbage over and over again.

        March 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • fjm1235

      Can we kick this guy off the island?

      March 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  79. SecretSquirrel

    Mattis 2016, oorah?

    March 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • What


      March 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  80. JCDavis

    The US continues to be the most belligerent county on the planet. If Iran doesn't already have dozens of nuclear weapons, they better get busy and build them.

    March 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  81. Amir

    Iran has prefect rights to build a bomb to counter these bullies. It is a shame that official from US openly threatening Iran with attack and war. These people are criminals and should be behind the bars.

    March 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • David

      Iran is sponsor to all terrorist groups I dont forget 1979 Iquess you werent even born at that time

      March 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
      • Amir

        Iran is the victim of west imperialism. Don't talk about the terror to me. We all know who killed the freedom fighter all over the world: Just remember the name of Allende , Mosaddegh, Lumumba and many others. CIA is the main sponsor of terrorism

        March 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  82. Joe

    Notice that the US doesn't have any 'other options' ready for N.Korea, like they used to...I wonder why that is?

    March 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • fjm1235

      Its not out of any fear of NK's military. The tiny US force in South Korea & the South Koreans would walk all over the North. The gating factor is, in any outright confrontation, the South would pay a huge price in being bombed in the openings moves. Their capital, Seoul, is well within the NK's missile/artillery range. Seoul would be badly damaged.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  83. Mario

    Ah geeze, please don't start anything soon, I'm only a few days away from finally being out of the youngest and most draftable age bracket

    March 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
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