Economic Sanctions Initiative

  • Trump Sanctions Iran’s Supreme Leader

    US President Donald J. Trump on June 24 signed an executive order that he said would place “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader.


    “The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He’s respected within his country.  His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Trump said before signing the order in the White House. “These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” he added.

    The executive order allows US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose sanctions on officials appointed by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and those who provide material support to his office. “These sanctions will deny Iran’s leadership access to financial resources,

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  • Sanctions Lunch with Brian Hook: Prospects for the United States’ Maximum Pressure Campaign on Iran


    On June 11, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics Program’s Economic Sanctions Initiative hosted a roundtable discussion on the prospects of the United States’ maximum pressure campaign on Iran, featuring Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State.


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  • US Cuba Policy: EU and Canadian Firms to Suffer?

    On April 17 2019, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announcedan important change in the United States’ policy toward Cuba: Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act of 1996 (LIBERTAD Act) would no longer be suspended. As a result of this decision, US claimants can now seek compensation for property confiscated by the Castro government. The move has important implications for US and foreign companies doing business in Cuba. This edition of the EconoGraphic explains the history and purpose of the LIBERTAD Act, evaluates the policy’s potential impact on US allies’ economic interests in Cuba, and highlights its implications for the pressure campaign against the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

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  • Coherent US Strategy Seen Key to Effective Sanctions

    As Washington looks to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and interference in the 2016 US elections, economic sanctions can be a useful tool, but they must fit into a coherent US strategy in order to be effective, Atlantic Council experts told US lawmakers on May 15.

    “Sanctions can be a useful, precise, and effective tool of US foreign policy, so long as they are treated as a tool to implement a clear policy and a thought-out strategy,” David Mortlock, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center explained.


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  • Sultoon Quoted in the Dialogue on Sanctions in Nicaragua


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  • Sultoon in Las Vegas Sun: Trump Pursuing The Right Goals In Cuba, But In The Wrong Way


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  • Spotlight: Next Steps with Venezuela

    Despite increased, coordinated international pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, he continues to cling to power. Maduro’s staying power has outlasted the Trump administration’s optimistic timeline, but, in this case, the stated goal of regime change is one worthy of perseverance. The need for a timely solution is exacerbated by the extreme humanitarian crisis – created by years of Maduro regime mismanagement – that has already prompted 3.7 million Venezuelans to flee. In order to achieve its policy objective, the Trump administration’s strategy should be broadened beyond

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  • Fried Quoted in The Telegraph on US Sanctions On Iran's Revolutionary Guard


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  • Trump’s Gamble on Iranian Oil Exports May Not Play Out the Way He Expects

    On April 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump Administration will not grant any exceptions from sanctions for entities involved in the purchase of petroleum products from Iran. The Trump administration’s apparent decision to compel buyers to zero out their purchases of Iranian oil is likely to have dramatic consequences on the effectiveness of sanctions on Iran and the markets, with the potential to negatively impact both.  

    As another step in President Donald Trump’s May 2018 withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Pompeo’s announcement means that the administration is going further than the sanctions at the height of the pre-JCPOA sanctions regime. The Trump administration will now threaten sanctions against any entity facilitating a significant transaction...

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  • A Look at the Implications of Trump’s Decision to End Sanctions Waivers for Countries Importing Iranian Oil

    The Trump administration’s decision not to grant any more sanctions waivers to countries that import oil from Iran is part of a maximum pressure strategy intended to cut off a critical source of revenue and force Iran to the negotiating table. But it will likely result in an increase in oil prices, resistance from countries that continue to buy Iranian oil, and a backlash from Tehran, according to Atlantic Council analysts.


    “The Trump administration’s announcement is certain to face pushback from major importers of Iranian oil, raise prices for consumers, and further erode the utility of sanctions as a non-military tool of US foreign policy,” said Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative.


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