Iran General NewsKey Obama aide on Iran sanctions steps down

Key Obama aide on Iran sanctions steps down


Reuters: President Barack Obama’s point person on cracking down on financial flows to Iran resigned on Monday, marking the loss of a key player in the U.S. effort to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

By Caren Bohan and Glenn Somerville

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s point person on cracking down on financial flows to Iran resigned on Monday, marking the loss of a key player in the U.S. effort to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

The departure of Stuart Levey from his role as the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence comes as the United States and its allies appear likely to make a push for stiffer sanctions on Iran.

That could potentially mean an even bigger role for Levey’s successor.

A meeting in Istanbul over Iran’s nuclear program involving the major world powers and Iranian officials failed to yield any progress or an agreement to meet again. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has raised the possibility of further increasing pressure on Iran.

Obama nominated Levey’s deputy, David Cohen, to replace him. Cohen will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

U.S. officials emphasized they did not think the staff change would stem the momentum for the drive to put the financial squeeze on Iran or to choke off access by militant groups to international sources of money.

“It will have no effect on policy, or on our ability to execute the president’s policy,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said. “David came to Treasury with well-established outside expertise and has worked at Stuart’s side for the last two years.”

Levey, a holdover from President George W. Bush’s administration, had built up personal relationships with officials in foreign capitals, and the Obama administration had viewed his efforts as highly successful.


In an interview with Reuters this month, Levey said he felt there was growing awareness among U.S. allies on the need to pinch Iran’s oil revenues to slow its bid to acquire nuclear weapons. He also said that cooperation in instituting sanctions was growing.

“He’s been single-minded in the task that he’s set out: stop all foreign entities from getting around the sanctions. He was tireless in that effort and he was largely successful,” Virginia Tech economics professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani said of Levey.

But Salehi-Isfahani and some other experts were skeptical of whether U.S.-led sanctions would force a political shift that could lead Tehran to freeze its nuclear enrichment program.

Levy urged foreign banks and companies to comply with U.S. sanctions, raising the threat that they could jeopardize their ability to do business in the United States if they violated them. Many banks have cut all ties to Iran as a result.

That has accelerated since the United Nations Security Council toughened financial sanctions on Iran last year, requiring foreign countries to withhold financial services that could support nuclear, missile and terrorist financing efforts in Iran.

Iran insists its nuclear enrichment program is designed to generate electric power. The United States and its Western allies accuse it of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

(Additional reporting by David Lawder; Writing by Caren Bohan and Glenn Somerville, editing by Stacey Joyce)

Latest news

Iranian Regime Presidency Servers Taken Over By Dissidents, Exposing Regime Vulnerabilities

In a significant security breach, the official website of the Iranian regime’s presidency was taken over by Iranian dissidents...

Abolfazl Amir Ataei, 16, Dies After 8 Months In A Coma

Abolfazl Amir Ataei, a 16-year-old teenager in the Iranian capital of Tehran, died on Friday, May 26, after being...

Iran’s Regime’s New Hijab Bill Seeks to Silence Women

On May 21, Ebrahim Raisi’s government approved and sent a bill on "Chastity and Hijab" to Iran’s Parliament (Majlis)....

Iranian Opposition Condemns Release of Tehran’s Convicted Diplomat-Terrorist Assadollah Assadi

The recent prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran, announced by the government of Oman, has sparked strong condemnation from...

World leaders call on Biden to adopt new Iran policy

In a joint letter, 109 former world leaders signed a letter calling for accountability in Iran and urging U.S....

The Unsettling Child Marriage Epidemic Sweeping Iran

The horrific scene of a man holding the severed head of his 17-year-old wife, Mona Heydari, in southwest Iran,...

Must read

Iran hangs three over prosecutor’s murder

AFP: Iran hanged on Saturday in public three men convicted...

Iran amputates man’s hand in public

Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, May 15 – Authorities have...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you