Biden is considering ENDING sweeping sanctions against states like Iran that were strengthened under Trump and will instead rely on ‘working with’ foreign governments
- The Treasury Department is leading a review that ‘seeks to identify ways to promote a warranted, strategic, and judicious use of sanctions’
- Focus on sanctions done in concert with allies
- U.S. has slapped sanctions on Iran, China, North Korea and other nations in effort to punish actions or incentivize changes
- Administration commenced review to identify ways to use sanctions in more targeted fashion to avoid impacts on ordinary citizens
- U.S. working with allies to life some sanctions on Iran amid push to rekindle nuclear deal
- Sen. Ted Cruz compared the changes to ‘appeasement’
The result is moving toward efforts that rely more on U.S. allies and sanctions that are retooled in a way meant to mitigate impacts on ordinary citizens – but could result in peeling back efforts meant to nudge outlaw regimes like Iran and North Korea.
The U.S. imposed sanctions have had pronounced effects on the economies of Iran and Venezuela, but have yet to bring about political change policymakers hoped for.
‘Our focus is on making sure that we’re moving from unilateral action, which has been what has defined U.S. policy over the last four years, to really working with our partners,’ a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal, which reported the administration has ‘nearly completed’ its review.
President Joe Biden’s administration is nearing completion of a security review of U.S. sanctions policy against countries including Russia, Iran and North Korea
The Treasury Department is leading a review that ‘seeks to identify ways to promote a warranted, strategic, and judicious use of sanctions,’ the department said this spring.
The U.S. pressure, combined with that of European nations, has helped put Iran’s economy into a tailspin amid the regime’s processing of nuclear fuel, backing for proxy groups like Hezbollah, and efforts to develop its missile program. It has also impacted the sputtering economy in President Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela – although the Treasury has sought to lift some sanctions in recognition of the ongoing humanitarian challenges.
The U.S. has tried for years to use economic pressure to roll back North Korea’s effort nuclear program
Iran’s new President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has said he won’t meet with President Joe Biden nor negotiate over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its support of regional militias. U.S. and European sanctions have hammered Iran’s economy
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted a report on the sanctions developments and compared the moves to appeasement
The administration loosened some restrictions on Venezuela to ease shipping of food and medical supplies, while dialing back others meant to bring pandemic relief to Iran (which had an early outbreak), Venezuela, and Syria.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas pounced on the report, having already been among a cohort of Republicans ripping Biden’s decision to seek to put the Iran nuclear deal in place.
‘Dems used to talk a lot about ‘soft power’ in foreign policy,’ he tweeted Monday. ‘After giving a multi-billion-dollar pipe line to Putin & offering the Ayatollah billions more, it seems Joe Biden has replaced that foreign policy w/ ‘soft weakness.’ Appeasement never works,’ he added.
Many of the tough unilateral sanctions were imposed by the Trump Administration, setting up a potential policy clash for 2022 and 2024. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been hammering Biden for going back to an Iran deal the Trump Administration tried to ditch.
For years Democrats have promoted sanctions as an alternative tool to military action, but their effectiveness is subject to debate. The U.S. has steadily sanctioned Russia and even gone after top oligarchs over hacking and other issues, and President Biden pointedly raised cyberhacking with President Vladimir Putin. Experts believe the Russia-linked REvil group is behind the weekend’s sweeping ransomware attack.