Key Points

Curtailing Iran’s exports represents an essential component of the U.S. plan “to starve the Iranian regime of the revenue it uses to fund violent and destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East,” in the words of Secretary Pompeo. Thus, the U.S. should insist on progressive reductions by all of Tehran’s customers. The U.S. should also carefully monitor the escrow accounts where oil revenue will be held. In the past, Iran and Turkey colluded to launder tens of billions of dollars, much of it withdrawn from the escrow accounts. Any country that facilitates such actions should immediately lose its oil purchasing exemption.

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Shortly after Treasury’s announcement, National Security Advisor John Bolton noted that this is just the beginning of the administration’s economic pressure. There will be “sanctions that even go beyond” what had been introduced, and the Trump administration will not “be content with the level of sanctions that existed under Obama.” The Islamic Republic supports terrorism, proliferates weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, engages in money laundering and corruption, and denies the Iranian people their freedoms and human rights. With more sanctions on the way, the next rounds should leverage the full breadth of U.S. authorities to demonstrate clearly that the Iranian regime poses a threat to the global financial system and international business.

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Current U.S. policy is based on the notion that strengthening Lebanese “state institutions” is the way to counter Hezbollah. But when Hezbollah controls these institutions, Washington should not look the other way.

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The Trump administration has already signaled that more sanctions are on the way, though it has not identified prospective targets. “We’re gonna have sanctions that even go beyond this,” said National Security Advisor John Bolton on Monday. “We’re not simply going to be content with the level of sanctions that existed under Obama in 2015.” By enacting new sanctions that penalize the regime’s top human rights violators, President Trump can give added weight to this commitment.

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The United States should resolve these discrepancies by sanctioning all 11 companies that so far have escaped designation. In so doing, the Trump administration can ensure that its maximum pressure campaign targets the full spectrum of actors responsible for facilitating Iran’s malign conduct.

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EVENT: FDD's National Security Summit

August 28, 2018 | 10:00

EVENT: Iran's Deceptive Financial Practices

June 5, 2018 | 12:15