From Trump to Biden: Iran
The following is an excerpt:
Over the last two years, the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign – an effort modeled on President Ronald Reagan’s “victory” strategy to defeat the Soviet Union – continued to drain financial resources from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and to squeeze Iran’s leaders to make a choice between regime survival and negotiations.
In 2019, President Trump established a U.S. policy to drive Iranian oil revenue to near-zero, imposed sanctions on Iran’s metal industries, and ordered the IRGC designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The Treasury Department designated the Central Bank of Iran and Iran’s National Development Fund for financing terrorism, while Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a final rule declaring Iran’s financial sector a primary jurisdiction of money laundering concern.
In 2020, Trump imposed sanctions on Iran’s construction, manufacturing, mining, and textile sectors, while authorizing the Treasury Secretary to impose sanctions on any other sector of Iran’s economy. This authority was later used to blacklist the entire Iranian financial sector, including 18 banks that had not yet been subject to U.S. sanctions.
The administration also employed sanctions as a tool of political warfare, not just economic pressure. The president imposed sanctions on the supreme leader’s business empire, highlighting corruption at the very top of the Iranian regime. The administration also designated Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and noted the foreign ministry’s record of coordination with the IRGC. After the administration made a compelling case, the 39-member Financial Action Task Force called on global financial institutions to reimpose countermeasures on Iran’s financial sector due to the regime’s continued money laundering and terror finance activities – a significant blow to Iran’s efforts to legitimize itself within international fora.