While the Trump administration follows through with reimposing sanctions on Tehran after it withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement, the rhetoric over American sanctions on Russia is seriously overheating. Debate centers on the Treasury Department’s potential removal of the Russian aluminum firm Rusal from its blacklist of sanctioned Russian entities. This dispute risks obscuring how a desire to hit back against Russia over its election interference, rather than punish Rusal’s oligarch founder, Oleg Deripaska, invites severe unintended consequences. While the political value of keeping Rusal on the Treasury blacklist may seem high, it comes with wider economic costs that are being overlooked.
The controversy began when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated publicly that the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, may remove Rusal from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, known as the SDN list. OFAC sanctioned Rusal back in April because Deripaska’s holding company, En+ Group, controlled a significant percentage of Rusal shares. In its press release announcing the initial designation, the Treasury Department linked Deripaska directly to the Kremlin, citing an array of illegal activity on behalf of the interests of the Russian Federation. Since then, the Treasury Department has repeatedly extended the deadline for companies to unwind their business with Rusal and a handful of other sanctioned Russian firms, while publicly stating that it was negotiating how to legally allow them to continue operations without Deripaska’s involvement
Read the Full Article at the World Politics Review
More from CNAS
CommentaryTrump’s Use of Sanctions Is Nothing Like Obama’s
Two and a half years into Donald Trump’s presidency, there is no doubt that economic sanctions are his administration’s foreign-policy weapon of choice. From China to Iran to ...
By Peter Harrell
CommentarySituation Report: U.S.-North Korea Negotiations to Resume This Weekend
After months of stalled talks, U.S. and North Korean representatives will meet this weekend to resume negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Just this week, ...
By Duyeon Kim, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Kristine Lee, Van Jackson & Neil Bhatiya
PodcastHong Kong Protests Update
Ashley Feng, Research Associate at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Matt Schrader, China Analyst at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshal...
By Ashley Feng
CommentaryNorth Korea’s Sanctions-Busting Gets More Sophisticated—and More Lucrative
As a United Nations report revealed earlier this month, North Korea continues to dodge international sanctions and raise money for its nuclear weapons program, despite attempt...
By Neil Bhatiya