London, 13 Apr - Steven Mnuchin, the current US Secretary of the Treasury, said yesterday that the United States could seek to go ahead with further sanctions on Iran. He said that the sanctions may be “very strong”.
Testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee, Mnuchin said that sanctions against Iran would be both on Iran and on those that seek to carry out business deals with Iran. He said there would be both primary and secondary sanctions.
He also indicated that as well as the renewal of previous sanctions that have been waived as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, there could potentially be a new round of sanctions.
President Donald Trump warned that the United States would be exiting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if the European signatories do not make the necessary amendments to make is a strong agreement. Trump has been a strong opponent of the nuclear deal and said that it needs to be renegotiated because, as it stands now, it does not curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Trump gave his European allies a deadline of 12th May to make the necessary changes, including making sure that Iran’s ballistic missile program is addressed. If it is not, he has threatened to stop signing the sanctions waivers.
If Trump refused to sign the sanction waiver certification, the sanctions that were lifted as a result of the signing of the nuclear deal will snap back into force.
Mnuchin said that he has many things to consider, including the current state of Iran’s economy. He said: “If the president doesn’t sign the certification, the sanctions snap back into place. I do think the primary and secondary sanctions would have an important impact on the Iranian economy, and that’s something he’s thinking about and balancing as he makes his decision.”
The Secretary of the Treasury also indicated that the administration is working on moving forward with non-nuclear related sanctions.
Before even taking office, Trump criticised the deal. He said that it was the “worst” deal that could have been negotiated.
It is true that the nuclear agreement is weak. Iran was given too many concessions, and Obama’s hopes and assurances that Iran’s behaviour would become more moderate were never realised. In fact, its behaviour became worse. Iran’s belligerence spread even further because it knew that it would not be challenged.
However, Trump has taken a firm position on Iran and he has been able to prove that being tough on Iran would help. When Trump threatened to retaliate against Iranian vessels that were threatening and approaching US Navy vessels, the provocations stopped.
Appeasement policies need to be put to an end and replaced with more comprehensive policies that actually deal with the major threats that are posed by Iran.
The people of Iran took to the streets in large numbers at the end of last year. These people have been victims of human rights violations for decades and it is time that the international community finally listened and stood behind them. After all, they know the regime inside out. And they know it is going to come toppling down soon.