Martin Savidge: What do you think will happen if the United States were to try to impose gasoline sanctions on Iran?
Trita Parsi: I think, first of all, it’s going be very difficult to impose effective gasoline sanctions on Iran because you would have to get the cooperation of all the countries in the Security Council, including Russia and China. If one tries to impose gasoline sanctions, it would have to be then, to be effective, through a naval blockade, without Security Council authorization. Well, that would be considered an act of war, and that would be a very, very risky strategy for the Obama administration to undertake.
MS: Then, there’s the question that, if the sanctions were imposed, what the effect they would have would be on the opposition movement.
TP: Well, that’s the other aspect of this. That is, the government obviously is better equipped to deal with the cost and impact of the sanctions than ordinary people. And these gasoline sanctions are extremely broad-based, so it is quite likely that it would be ordinary people, including the people that have been protesting in the streets demanding that their votes be counted, that would be primarily affected by this, rather than the government itself.
MS: So, in other words, the people would become angry at those who imposed the sanctions and perhaps forget so much about the anger against their own government.
TP: Well, even if the anger may be split in part, the reality is, who is gonna be bearing the brunt of the impact of this? The government seems to be far more capable of being able to protect itself, whereas ordinary people have no such capabilities.
Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. This interview was brought online by WorldFocus on 3 August 2009. The text above is a partial transcript of the interview.