At the same time, divestment can hurt the targeted companies enough to persuade them to change their ways. We learned this 20 years ago from the divestment movement directed against apartheid South Africa, which targeted many U.S.-based firms. Some of them withdrew from South Africa -- a fact that helped persuade South Africa's white rulers to end apartheid.
We can't expect the mullahs to change their system in the same way. But we can expect divestment to put a heavy economic squeeze on a regime whose economy already is deteriorating visibly. Iran produces lots of oil, but it doesn't have enough refinery capacity and must import gasoline. The mullah regime appears to be highly unpopular, and further economic deterioration might spark a peaceful overthrow -- the best result imaginable for us, as well as for most Iranians.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Michael Barone points out some overlooked good news. How more and more US firms divesting Iran could bring pressure to bear on the