Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.
By James M. Lindsay
The United States and its European allies are now looking to squeeze Iran’s oil exports in an effort to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear activities. Congress just gave President Obama the power to punish foreign financial firms that purchase Iranian oil, and the Europeans are considering cutting back their purchase of Iranian oil. How well these new sanctions will work is a matter of conjecture.
As the graphic above makes clear, European countries buy a relatively small fraction of Iran’s oil. Meanwhile, the U.S. sanctions could put Washington on a collision course with several of its most important Asian allies as well as with countries like China and India whose cooperation it wants on other issues.