WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced new sanctions against Iran Friday morning, the latest move in a conflict-filled week between the countries.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the sanctions would target Iran’s construction, manufacturing, textiles, mining, and aviation industries. They also include both “primary and secondary” sanctions — ones targeting Iranian citizens and those who do business with them. He also said they’d further target Iranian officials.
VICE News first reported Thursday that these sanctions would be announced this week and would focus on Iran’s major industries other than oil, as well as top officials.
The sanctions announcement comes after a week of sky-high tensions between the two countries. On President Trump’s orders, the U.S. military last week killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, considered the nation’s second most powerful leader and the architect of Iranian proxy forces throughout the Middle East for the past few decades. Iran vowed to retaliate for the killing, and on Tuesday fired a dozen-plus ballistic missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq. But that missile strike didn’t kill any Iraqis or Americans, likely an attempt at deescalation.
It’s unlikely the new U.S. sanctions will do much to worsen tensions with Iran. Rather than whether sanctions can change Iran’s behavior, the real question is whether the two countries can avoid future armed conflict, after the past few weeks of tangible conflict.
It’s also doubtful the sanctions will have much real political impact. The Trump administration has already had a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions that have badly damaged Iran’s economy, and experts told VICE News earlier this week that any additional sanctions would likely have a negligible impact on the country’s already-ailing economy. Even if the sanctions do further damage, it’s unlikely they’d have much effect on changing Iranian behavior, which is supposed to be the goal.