WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing new sanctions on Iran, further squeezing the Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent “aggressive” acts by Tehran, but the response to the penalties targeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were “is that all you got?”
This move was preceded by actions taken by the administration this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports that the Iranian economy depended on.
The new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries.
However, the Iranian officials most likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions, and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal.
The recent sanctions are symbolic in nature, further revealing that Trump’s administration is running low on arrows in its economic movement. The U.S. now is waiting to see if its efforts will yield results that force the Iranian leaders to surrender to American demands in exchange for economic relief.
Iranian officials have railed for two months against the Trump administration’s sanctions blocking their oil sales as “economic warfare.”
“Ridiculous,” declared a headline from the semiofficial Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
“Are there really any sanctions that the U.S. hasn’t imposed against our country and people in the past 40 years?” a foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, asked reporters in Tehran. “And what did it achieve?”
In contrast to the threats and bluster of Tehran’s previous responses to the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign, Iranians across the political spectrum dismissed the latest embargoes on Monday, arguing that the new sanctions would have little practical impact, aside from undermining Trump’s repeated assertions that he is seeking to renew talks with Tehran, if only to restrict its nuclear weapons program.
“Sanctions announced today officially closed all the windows and doors for U.S. and Iran talks,” Hassan Soleimani, the editor in chief of the Revolutionary Guards’ Mashregh News Agency, said in an interview with The New York Times from Tehran. “If Trump was hoping for negotiations with Iran, he can now only dream about it.”