Trump administration eyes new Iran sanctions over missile test

 

Iran's illegal missile test on Sunday is likely to lead to new sanctions on several Iranian individuals and companies, according to Trump administration sources.

While the sanctions will not violate the 2015 nuclear agreement, they will present Tehran with a dilemma they were never forced to confront during the Obama administration: whether or not to follow through on their threats and scuttle the nuclear deal if the U.S. imposes new restrictions on Tehran.

Reuters:

In the first tangible action against Iran since Trump took office on Jan. 20, the administration, on the same day he insisted that "nothing is off the table," prepared to roll out new measures against more than two dozen Iranian targets, the sources said. The announcement is expected as early as Friday, they added.

The new sanctions, which are being taken under existing executive orders covering terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, may mark the opening shot in a more aggressive policy against Iran that Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign, the sources, who had knowledge of the administration's plans, said.

But the package, targeting both entities and individuals, was formulated in a way that would not violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers including Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, they added.

The sources said the new sanctions had been in the works for some time and that Iran's decision to test-fire a ballistic missile on Sunday helped trigger Trump's decision to impose them, although Washington has not accused Iran of violating the nuclear deal.

The White House declined comment.

A U.S. State Department official said: "As standard policy, we do not preview sanction decisions before they are announced."

The White House signaled a tougher stance toward Iran on Wednesday when Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, said he was putting Iran "on notice" after the missile test and senior U.S. officials said the administration was reviewing how to respond.

A top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country would not yield to "useless" U.S. threats from "an inexperienced person" over its ballistic missile program. The adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, did not identify a specific U.S. official in his comments.

The impact of the new sanctions will be more symbolic than practical, especially as the move does not affect the lifting of broader U.S. and international sanctions that took place under the nuclear deal. Also, few of the Iranian entities being targeted are likely to have U.S. assets that can be frozen, and U.S. companies, with few exceptions, are barred from doing business with Iran.

The real value of these new sanctions is that they send an unmistakable signal to Iran: the free ride is over.  The United States will no longer accept behavior from Iran that violates either the nuclear accord or U.N. resolutions that restrict its ballistic missile program. 

The Trump administration is likely to interpret the nuclear agreement far more aggressively than the Obama administration, who gave in on every point of contention that Tehran brought up.  The Obama administration also ran diplomatic interference for Tehran while the Iranian leadership continuously trashed the U.S. and challenged us at every turn.

There was no pushback when Iran seized our sailors who veered off course off Iranian territory.  Indeed, the U.S. paid a hefty ransom to get our sailors back.  That sort of appeasement will be a thing of the past, and Iran has some very hard choices to make if it wants the flow of cash released by the West in compliance with the nuclear agreement to continue.

So it's put up or shut up time for the Iranians.  They are going to be given a choice: join the league of civilized nations, or be frozen out again.

 

Iran's illegal missile test on Sunday is likely to lead to new sanctions on several Iranian individuals and companies, according to Trump administration sources.

While the sanctions will not violate the 2015 nuclear agreement, they will present Tehran with a dilemma they were never forced to confront during the Obama administration: whether or not to follow through on their threats and scuttle the nuclear deal if the U.S. imposes new restrictions on Tehran.

Reuters:

In the first tangible action against Iran since Trump took office on Jan. 20, the administration, on the same day he insisted that "nothing is off the table," prepared to roll out new measures against more than two dozen Iranian targets, the sources said. The announcement is expected as early as Friday, they added.

The new sanctions, which are being taken under existing executive orders covering terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, may mark the opening shot in a more aggressive policy against Iran that Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign, the sources, who had knowledge of the administration's plans, said.

But the package, targeting both entities and individuals, was formulated in a way that would not violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers including Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, they added.

The sources said the new sanctions had been in the works for some time and that Iran's decision to test-fire a ballistic missile on Sunday helped trigger Trump's decision to impose them, although Washington has not accused Iran of violating the nuclear deal.

The White House declined comment.

A U.S. State Department official said: "As standard policy, we do not preview sanction decisions before they are announced."

The White House signaled a tougher stance toward Iran on Wednesday when Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, said he was putting Iran "on notice" after the missile test and senior U.S. officials said the administration was reviewing how to respond.

A top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country would not yield to "useless" U.S. threats from "an inexperienced person" over its ballistic missile program. The adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, did not identify a specific U.S. official in his comments.

The impact of the new sanctions will be more symbolic than practical, especially as the move does not affect the lifting of broader U.S. and international sanctions that took place under the nuclear deal. Also, few of the Iranian entities being targeted are likely to have U.S. assets that can be frozen, and U.S. companies, with few exceptions, are barred from doing business with Iran.

The real value of these new sanctions is that they send an unmistakable signal to Iran: the free ride is over.  The United States will no longer accept behavior from Iran that violates either the nuclear accord or U.N. resolutions that restrict its ballistic missile program. 

The Trump administration is likely to interpret the nuclear agreement far more aggressively than the Obama administration, who gave in on every point of contention that Tehran brought up.  The Obama administration also ran diplomatic interference for Tehran while the Iranian leadership continuously trashed the U.S. and challenged us at every turn.

There was no pushback when Iran seized our sailors who veered off course off Iranian territory.  Indeed, the U.S. paid a hefty ransom to get our sailors back.  That sort of appeasement will be a thing of the past, and Iran has some very hard choices to make if it wants the flow of cash released by the West in compliance with the nuclear agreement to continue.

So it's put up or shut up time for the Iranians.  They are going to be given a choice: join the league of civilized nations, or be frozen out again.

RECENT VIDEOS