Brian O'Toole

  • Trump's Iran Sanctions Are Back: Will They Work?

    On Monday, US President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order detailing the framework for re-imposing sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal, with the goal of getting Iran back to the table to negotiate a deal covering not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but also Tehran’s other malign activity. Immediately after issuing the order, Trump tweeted that these were the most biting sanctions ever and would be ratcheted up to another level in November.  This is, of course, not true. 

    The sanctions the administration is re-imposing in two waves (August and November) on Iran are effectively the same sanctions that were in place in 2013 and led to the JCPOA negotiations.  Unlike 2013, the Trump administration does not have the full support of the international community and is not bolstered by several United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran to generate maximum...

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  • Trump's Iran Sanctions Are Back: Will They Work?

    On Monday, US President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order detailing the framework for re-imposing sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal, with the goal of getting Iran back to the table to negotiate a deal covering not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but also Tehran’s other malign activity. Immediately after issuing the order, Trump tweeted that these were the most biting sanctions ever and would be ratcheted up to another level in November.  This is, of course, not true. 

    The sanctions the administration is re-imposing in two waves (August and November) on Iran are effectively the same sanctions that were in place in 2013 and led to the JCPOA negotiations.  Unlike 2013, the Trump administration does not have the full support of the international community and is not bolstered by several United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran to generate maximum...

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  • O'Toole Quoted in Bloomberg on Secretary Mnuchin's Use of Sanctions


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  • Russia Braces For 'Crushing' New Sanctions Over Electoral Interference

    On August 8, the Russian newspaper Kommersant published a draft of what they claim is the new Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA), a bill US senators introduced on August 2 that aims to punish Moscow for its interference in American elections, its continued support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and the illegal annexation of Crimea.

    US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the new sanctions were necessary because existing measures had “failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 elections,” and that these sanctions would be in place...

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  • O'Toole Joins BBC to Discuss US Sanctions Reimposed on Iran


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  • Oil and Iran: How Renewed Sanctions Will Affect Iran and World Markets


    On July 18, the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative in the South Asia Center, Global Energy Center, and Global Business & Economics Program co-hosted a panel discussion on the likelihood and effect of renewed US sanctions on Iran. The event featured five panelists: Anna Borschevskaya, Ira Weiner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Amos J. Hochstein, senior vice president of marketing at Tellurian Inc.; Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy; Brian O’Toole, non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics Program; and Sara Vakhshouri, founder and president of SVB Energy International. Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative, moderated.


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  • Trump Picks Putin

    US President Donald J. Trump on July 16 appeared to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials over the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections, saying he saw “no reason why” Moscow would have acted in that way.

    Speaking at a joint press conference following his first summit with Putin in Helsinki, Trump said: “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today” on meddling.

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  • Trump-Putin Summit: Expect the Unexpected

    Just in the past few months, US President Donald J. Trump has blown up the G7 summit in Canada, berated the United States’ NATO allies, criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May on her handling of Brexit, described Germany as a “captive” of Russia, characterized the European Union as a “foe,” and directed the Pentagon to...
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  • Managing a Trump-Putin Summit Amid Confusion Over US Policy Toward Russia

    The Janus-esque Russia policy of US President Donald J. Trump’s administration has been thrust back into the forefront with the president’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. 

    On one hand, the Trump administration has been tougher on Russia than it is sometimes given credit for: it has levied several rounds of increasingly severe sanctions, culminating in the April 6 decision to designate, among others, Russian oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, sending shockwaves through global markets. Those actions were taken with warnings from senior administration officials that further destabilizing activities would be met with additional sanctions—a welcome intent to use sanctions as a deterrent. 

    On the other hand, is the president.

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  • The Trump-Putin Summit

    US President Donald J. Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will hold their first summit in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, the White House announced on June 28.

    The meeting will come days after the NATO Summit in Brussels and Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom. US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that Russia’s alleged interference in 2016 US presidential election will be on the agenda. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman stated that the meeting would focus on Syria, Ukraine, and international...

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