While the Trump administration reviews U.S. policy toward Iran, the United States will continue to counter Iran’s malign activities and hold Iran strictly accountable to the requirements of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
The U.S. State Department recently certified to Congress that the conditions of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act related to the JCPOA, are met as of July 17, 2017. This means the United States continues to waive sanctions as required to implement U.S. sanctions-lifting commitments under the deal.
But, as State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said, the United States considers Iran in default of the spirit of the nuclear agreement in important ways:
“Part of what the JCPOA agreement says is [Iran] is supposed to contribute to regional and international peace and security, and we believe that some of the actions that the Iranian Government has been involved with undermine that stated goal.”
Iran’s destabilizing actions include ballistic missile development and proliferation and much more:
“Support to terrorism and militancy; it is complicit in the Assad regime’s atrocities against its own people; unrelenting hostility to Israel…They have consistently threatened freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf; cyber attacks on the United States.”
In response to these continued threats which are outside the scope of the nuclear deal, the Trump Administration announced 18 sanctions designations on July 18 on individuals and entities involved in materially contributing to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or the their means of delivery, activities in support of Iranian military procurement or elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, as well as Iran-based transnational criminal organization associates.
The designations mean that the assets of the individuals and entities subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and no U.S. person can do business with them. Foreign financial institutions that facilitate significant transactions on behalf of these entities risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system.
As U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, the new sanctions “send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behavior. We will continue to target the IRGC and pressure Iran to cease its ballistic missile program and malign activities in the region.”