Iran’s Ballistic Missle Program Leads to Fresh U.S. Sanctions
While the State Department is still working on a comprehensive policy for the Trump administration to use in dealing with Iran, it has opted to keep the relief conditions of the 2015 nuclear deal alive, for now. Yet, the terms of the deal, up for renewal every six months, may not survive this year. In addition, the U.S. has introduced fresh sanctions against Iranian military officials, as well as Chinese and Iranian companies. The three parties are accused of aiding or carrying out Iran’s ballistic missile program, which has continued unhindered. The State Department also took the opportunity to rebuke Iran for violation of human rights.
The announcement by the State Department comes ahead of an Iranian presidential election. While the electoral process itself is weighed down by Iran’s stifling theocracy, it remains to be seen if current President Hassan Rouhani will be rewarded or punished for his delivery of the Iran nuclear deal. If Rouhani can maintain the confidence of the people and the Supreme Leader, then re-election should not be an issue. The economy, however, and the relatively light relief delivered by the terms of the nuclear deal, could embitter many on Rouhani. Rouhani’s chief opponent, Ebrahim Raisi, is notable for his hard line commitment to Iran’s harsher policies.
As President Trump makes final preparations for his first overseas trip, his stop in Saudi Arabia may be a key moment in the formation of America’s stance on Iran. In discussions, the President may gage the feelings of not only the Sauds, but other Gulf States. These feelings may provide valuable feedback for the State Department and other officials seeking to forge ahead with our allies in mind. The President’s words and actions have already made strides to separate this administration from the problems of the last, where our Middle Eastern allies were unsure of American commitments. These new sanctions should help reverse this view.
Image Source: Wikimedia/Hossein Razaqnejad
License: Creative Commons 4.0