It imposed broad sanctions on Iran’s banks on Thursday, with the intention of dealing a definitive blow to the economy of its adversary, and in recent weeks it has issued almost daily actions against entities in countries such as Belarus, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela. .
In search of a second term, US President Donald Trump has accelerated the application of economic sanctions, your favorite foreign policy tool. But his “maximum pressure” measures have not yielded the expected results.
The Trump administration imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran’s banks on Thursday, with the intention of dealing a definitive blow to the economy of its adversary, and in recent weeks it has issued almost daily actions against entities in countries such as Belarus, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela.
“Sanctions have clearly been the Trump administration’s tool of choice to respond to corrupt regimes and illicit conduct,” said Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a hard-line group.
“Previous governments used sanctions, but on a narrower and more selective base, by designating specific entities and individuals rather than trying to create macroeconomic change and destabilize governments to force behavioral change on a large scale, “he explained.
No country has been more affected by US sanctions than Iran. In 2018, Trump exited a denuclearization deal brokered by former Democratic President Barack Obama, blocking all oil exports from that country.
Although he denies that the goal was regime change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, set 12 conditions to remove sanctions, which amount to a total transformation of Iran’s security strategy.
More than two years later, the Trump administration claims credit for the devastation of Iran’s economy, saying its regional allies – like the Shiite Hezbollah movement – have been deprived of funding.
“In Iran, the regime has considerably fewer resources to spend on malicious activities, which in itself is a national security victory for the United States, and it appears that the regime will be forced to negotiate in 2021 with whoever wins the presidential election, “Goldberg said.
But militant groups supported by the Iranian regime have been stepping up their activities, Iran has taken steps to move away from the restrictions imposed by the nuclear deal, and none of the 12 goals declared by Pompeo have been achieved.
“They would say ‘we have weakened Iran’, which is true, but there has been no real change in Iranian behavior “said Thomas Wright, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution research center.
“We have not seen Iran accept a negotiation, much less negotiate an alternative” to the agreement on its nuclear program, he said.
Brian O’Toole, who helped implement the sanctions under the Obama administration, said the latest measures on Iran they were more political, including making it difficult for a future government to get back into the nuclear deal.
“The real repercussions of these sanctions are likely to be marginal, and certainly not at the level of the collapse of the regime as some of its advocates have trumpeted,” said O’Toole, now part of the Atlantic Council.
“And it won’t do much to reduce Iran’s bad behavior,” he summed up.
The objective of the Trump administration has been explicit in Venezuela: the removal of Nicolás Maduro, whose re-election in 2018 was widely viewed as fraudulent.
But after more than a year and a half of U.S. efforts, including sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, Maduro remains in charge, supported by Russia, China, Iran and Cuba.