The Obama Administration is gearing up for new economic sanctions on Iran, having concluded its diplomatic efforts failed, Newsweek reports.
The story by Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff focuses on the anticipated role for Treasury Under Secretary Stewart Levey, described as "Obama's Enforcer." After Secretary of State Robert Gates, Levey is the highest ranking official from the Bush Administration still serving the President. That, Newsweek reports, is because:
"Levey is feared and hated in Tehran, where 'all the officials know how to pronounce his name right,' says a European diplomat who follows Iranian affairs for his government. (It rhymes with 'heavy.')"
The sanctions are expected to expect to target assets and fronts for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime's enforcement arm especially active in suppressing opposition following June's disputed elections. The guard represents "the face of repression," and it owns billions of dollars in shares in Iranian telecommunications and other assets in the country's business and energy sector.
"The IRGC is taking over larger swaths of the Iranian economy, pushing out other businesses and getting preferential treatment in terms of no-bid contracts—thereby being potentially resented by the rest of the population in Iran," Levey told Newsweek.
The U.S. aims to pressure companies doing business with those firms and threaten to sanction them if they don't cut their ties.
According to the magazine, "Levey says he wants to make the foreign firms understand that 'if they're dealing with Iran it's nearly impossible to protect themselves from being entangled in that country's illicit conduct.'"
Check out the entire story here.