The New US Sanctions Regime against Iran

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-2-28-36

A. Davydov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, 
Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation;
S. Kislitsyn (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, 
Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by BP. 

Abstract. The article examines the current state of the U.S. sanctions policy towards Iran and its transformation prospects. Specifically, it describes new provisions of the sanctions regime under the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act” of 2017, as well as other acting provisions of this policy. The authors present the current discourse on the subject in the American political establishment. The U. S.-Iran relations are traditionally of adversarial nature. For more than 30 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered by the United States as a hostile, terrorism-sponsoring nation that threatens regional security in the Middle East. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Iranian government has been under a number of U.S.-imposed sanctions which only intensified through decades, although their efficiency was questionable until recently. The most serious impact on Iran’s economy was made by multilateral sanctions imposed by the U. N. Security Council resolution 1929 (2010), which forced Iranian officials to participate in P5+1 negotiating process. The eventually adopted Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA (October 2015) stopped Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. Since implementation of the deal (January 2016), the U.S. has lifted sanctions on Iran’s economy in compliance with it. This sparked a political debate in the United States on whether Washington should unilaterally withdraw from the agreement or not. The opponents of the JCPOA, predominantly republicans, argue that Iran is using the relieved resources to fund terrorism, its destabilizing activities in the Middle East and to threaten U.S. allies in the region. The supporters of the deal, mostly democrats, presume that the withdrawal would only stimulate Iranians to get a nuclear weapon hence the failure of diplomatic means to solve the problem. Nevertheless, both parties consider Iran as a hostile regime, and in order to impose additional pressure on it for its policies, Congress almost unanimously passed the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act” (2017). The Act severed the other existing sanctions not lifted by the JCPOA. By analyzing the U.S. sanctions policy towards Iran and the current discourse in the political establishment on the subject, the authors come to a conclusion that a unilateral withdrawal from the deal is not likely to happen. The United States will probably pursue a containment strategy towards Iran and will provoke its government to violate the JCPOA provisions – in order to re-impose severe sanctions on a multilateral basis, which would deliver the U.S. from undermining its relations with its allies.

Keywords: sanctions against Iran, Iran, sanctions, JCPOA, U.S. foreign policy, Neoconservatism, democracy promotion policy 


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For citation:
Davydov A., Kislitsyn S. The New US Sanctions Regime against Iran. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 28-36.

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