The Trump administration—namely, the hardline faction led by National Security Advisor John R. Bolton—furthered its de facto criminalization of Iran on Monday, announcing the cessation of sanctions waivers for major petrol importers.
“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. The development is a sequel to labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s preeminent security force, a terrorist organization; the State Department made the designation earlier this month.
Unusually, for a procedural move, the president himself got in on the action Monday, casting the maneuver, as he is wont to do, in more personal terms: “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal.” Donald Trump tweeted. Will they and is it?
The president added that former Secretary Kerry’s machinations could be a “big violation of the Logan Act,” an eighteenth-century law that’s gained renewed currency in the Trump era.
“If Trump wants to avoid the mistakes of George W. Bush in the Middle East, he’s following the wrong playbook with Iran,” Ryan Costello of the National Iranian American Council told me Monday morning. “With few results and time running out for Trump’s pressure track, Bolton and his backers are burning through all of the sanctions options that they have, with the only concrete result a more intractable Iran.”
For the Trump administration, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this year,America is back in the Middle East—and taking sides. “It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but I’m a military man by training, so I’ll put it bluntly: America is a force for good in the Middle East. Period,” America’s chief diplomat said in Cairo in a landmark speech in January.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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