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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Squeezing Iran into Submission: Why It Ain’t Gonna Happen That Way

Having studied more than 200 episodes of economic sanctions in the 20th Century, people often ask me to identify the greatest sanctions success story that my colleagues and I uncovered. My answer is usually along the lines of, hmmm, well, I can think of lots of spectacular sanctions failures—for example the 50-year long embargo against Castro’s Cuba. But there are no equally spectacular successes. There were times when sanctions were decisive in achieving foreign policy goals, but most often it was when those goals were relatively modest.