Trump Issues New Sanctions on Iranian Regime

In response to the Iranian regime’s recent shooting down of an unmanned United States drone, President Trump authorized the implementation of “hard-hitting” sanctions against the Middle Eastern country on Monday. Designed to cut off financial resources to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates, Trump hopes the new sanctions will cripple the Middle Eastern country enough to prevent it from constructing nuclear weapons. “We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. However, Trump has made clear that he has no intention of this pressure escalating into military conflict. “We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country,” the president told the press. “I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have nuclear weapons.”

Trump’s move has unsurprisingly been subject to critiques from both allies and opponents. Some say the sanctions will prove ineffective and merely add unnecessary tension to the United States’ relationship with Iran, which has already risen in light of Iran’s alleged attack on six U.S. oil tankers. Additionally, Iran announced last week that it would increase its stockpile of uranium. Iran, of course, is unhappy with the new sanctions – President Hassan Rouhani mocked them, calling the sanctions “outrageous and idiotic.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the sanctions as “the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy.”

While Iran’s reaction to the new sanctions suggests they might not lead to diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran, the situation is undeniably more complicated than that. White House officials have defended Trump’s move as necessary to show the Iranian leaders that the U.S. will retaliate if provoked and to remind them that the U.S. is far more powerful than they are. “We’ve literally locked up tens of billions of dollars,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says. “These sanctions are effective.” If enough financial pressure is put on Iran’s regime, it might facilitate a new nuclear deal that benefits the U.S. more than President Obama’s 2015 deal which Trump pulled out of last year. This is clearly what the Trump administration hopes, but the jury is still out whether the sanctions will positively or negatively affect the U.S. in the long run. Certainly, considering Iran’s aggressive behavior in recent weeks, it’s fair to say that some action by the president was called for. However, until the U.S. takes further action or Iran makes a countermove, it will be impossible to tell whether Trump’s response to the drone strike was prudent.

CNBC - Trump signs executive order slapping ‘hard-hitting’ sanctions on Iran over drone shootdown

Washington Post - Iran warns U.S. it could down more drones as Pompeo arrives in Persian Gulf

Fox News - Trump signs executive order delivering 'hard-hitting' sanctions against Iran

Defense News - Trump levels sanctions against Iran, with a warning

NPR - Iran Says Trump's New Sanctions Have Ended Diplomacy

Ruth Moreno is a Contributor to