May 16, 2018

How the exit from the Iran deal will hurt the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions

By Edoardo Saravalle and Axel Hellman

After more than a year of negotiations and crises, President Trump decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal last week as he announced that the United States would unilaterally reimpose sweeping sanctions targeting the Iranian economy. In announcing this decision, Trump drew a direct line to his ongoing negotiations with North Korea and emphasized how his decision would bolster U.S. leverage over the regime in Pyongyang. The decision, he said, demonstrates that “the United States no longer makes empty threats.”

While withdrawal will let United States once again use aggressive sanctions against Tehran, this decision will – paradoxically –  negatively affect Washington’s ability to successfully use economic pressure in the future. These measures have been one of the most powerful U.S. foreign policy tools – what brought Tehran to the negotiation table in the first place. Yet, the U.S. administration is putting this powerful instrument at risk.

The damage caused by short-sighted use of sanctions on Iran will spread because these measures do not exist in isolation. Each case sets a precedent that informs future use. Separate sanctions episodes are therefore inextricably linked. Muddle on Iran sanctions will become muddle on Russia sanctions. Uncertainty over Venezuela will become uncertainty over North Korea.

The reintroduction of sanctions as part of the termination of the Iran deal will harm U.S. credibility in two key areas required for the success of any sanctions program.

Read the Full Article at the European Leadership Network

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • January 14, 2020
    Trump Has Made Sanctions a Path to Strikes

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to kill the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, the architect of Iran’s political and military influence in the Middle East, and the Irani...

    By Elizabeth Rosenberg & ​Neil Bhatiya

  • Commentary
    • Forbes
    • January 14, 2020
    Watch Out for Iranian Info Wars Funded By Crypto

    With tensions rising between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qasim Soleimani earlier this month, U.S. officials should expect more Ira...

    By Yaya J. Fanusie

  • Video
    • January 8, 2020
    Iran attacks U.S. troops in Iraq base

    Neil Bhatiya joins Bloomberg's Daybreak Asia by phone to discuss the latest developments in heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. Watch the full conversatio...

    By ​Neil Bhatiya

  • Commentary
    • Forbes
    • December 31, 2019
    How To Really Help Free North Koreans Through Crypto

    A few weeks ago, the FBI arrested an Alabama-born computer programmer for allegedly helping the North Korean regime evade U.S. sanctions through blockchain technology. Accordi...

    By Yaya J. Fanusie

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia