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PRAGUE — Despite his bellicose rhetoric, U.S. President George W. Bush would very much like to avoid a choice between airstrikes on Iranian nuclear sites and accepting a nuclear Iran. For the moment, administration officials are hoping that “targeted” sanctions aimed directly at Iran’s leadership will compel a compromise.

The United Nations Security Council’s recent decision to tighten existing sanctions on Iran by prohibiting dealings with 15 individuals and 13 organizations aims at precisely that. But, while some within the U.S. government argue that similar sanctions induced North Korea to compromise on its nuclear program, there are several reasons why the same strategy is unlikely to work with Iran.

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