Jo Becker examines Iranian stated-owned shipping fleet Irisl's actions to circumvent American export controls and sanctions as Iran tries to obtain military technology.
The UN Security Council will maintain pressure on Iran to cease its uranium enrichment program if it moves forward with sanctions, but that won't likely change Tehran's course, writes CFR's Richard N. Haass.
Daniel Schäfer asks whether mid-range family owned businesses and industries in Germany that have an interest in trading with Iran undermine western efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.
This report from the International Crisis Group provides an overview of the existing humanitarian crisis in North Korea and how tightening sanctions and domestic problems have deepened the DPRK human security tragedy.
This CRS paper argues that while the West has little leverage over North Korea, China and Russia can exert pressure on the country due to their extensive trade relationships with Pyongyang.
Analyst Joseph S. Nye Jr. says the Obama administration's emphasis on multilateralism raises the prospects for dealing with Iran effectively on its nuclear program but expects no diplomatic breakthroughs in the short term.
Korea expert Victor D. Cha says effective implementation of the UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in June prompted recent conciliatory gestures from the regime. He says the United States might resume bilateral talks with North Korea in addition to pursuing multilateral discussions on Pyongyang's nuclear program.
Kara McDonald argues, "one of the strongest multilateral sanctions architectures ever created already exists to pressure North Korea; it just needs to be enforced."
Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland write that sanctions alone are not enough to force North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons, but that the United States and other countries can make an impact if they pursue North Korea's international financial intermediaries, such as China.
Charles Ferguson argues that "fresh sanctions on a cash-poor North Korean regime could help cause exactly the situation we hope to prevent - nuclear proliferation."
Low oil prices are undermining Iran's economy, a political liability for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he seeks reelection in June. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a former Iranian central bank economist, assesses the link between politics and economy in Iran.
Financial sanctions have become a key tool of U.S. foreign policy. Measures taken against Iran and North Korea make clear that this new financial statecraft can be effective, but true success will require persuading global banks to accept a shared sense of risk.
Richard Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, directed committee staff member for Latin America, Carl Meacham, to "evaluate U.S. policy towards Cuba". During the trip to Cuba, staff met with government officials, clergy, diplomats, business people, international press, and Cuban citizens.
President-elect Barack Obama has expressed willingness to have direct talks with Cuba, the latest step in what experts still view as a long road toward normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations.