Iran

U.S. Applies “Snapback” of Sanctions Imposing “Heaviest Economic Pressure” on Iran

On Monday, the United States completed “its full snapback of sanctions on Iran,” bringing to bear the “heaviest economic pressure ever” against the Islamic Republic, in the hope that will “change the behavior of Ayatollah Khamenei, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote in an op-ed published in the Financial Times.

Mnuchin described the reimposed sanctions as an “important step towards holding the world’s largest state sponsor of terror accountable for its malign behaviour, human rights abuses, ballistic missiles development, and systematic efforts to exploit the global financial system to fund its revolutionary ambitions.”

While the goal of the 2015 nuclear deal had been to free up money allowing Iran to “lift up its people,” the regime responded by investing “money into supporting terrorism, fomenting violence and promoting regional instability,” Mnuchin charged. This included Iran’s support of the “brutal” Assad regime in Syria, the Houthi separatists in Yemen, and the firing of rockets and missiles against its neighbors.

The sanctions being imposed by the U.S. on Iran target the country’s petroleum and petrochemical industries, and pressure financial institutions that do business with sanctioned Iranian banks, with the goal of cutting off “all sources of revenue to a regime that continues to fund terror, foment global instability, and line the pockets of its corrupt leaders,” Mnuchin wrote.

The secretary also observed that the “value of the Iranian rial has collapsed, losing over two-thirds of its value in recent months” as the result of new sanctions imposed in May. The goal of the newly imposed sanctions, Mnuchin argued, is “to bring the Iranian regime to the table to achieve a much better deal than the JCPOA,” as the nuclear deal is known.

The administration did offer waivers to eight nations to continue buying oil from Iran temporarily.  The Wall Street Journal reported that the new sanctions have already reduced Iran’s international sales of oil by one third and that the administration’s goal is to reduce Iran’s oil exports of oil to zero in the near future.

Iran responded to the new sanctions — which, in addition to targeting major sectors of its economy, targeted 700 individuals and companies — with defiance. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, “We have to make Americans understand that they cannot talk to the great Iranian nation with the language of pressure and sanctions,” The Washington Post reported.

The Post also reported that  Iran held military exercises in the northern and western sections of the country. The drills included air defense and antiaircraft systems.

[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube ]