Trump is digging a deeper hole by adding more Iran sanctions

By Daniel DePetris

The Trump administration’s latest round of economic sanctions against Iran, announced by the president on September 20 in the Oval Office, is a direct response to Tehran’s apparent missile and drone strike on Saudi oil facilities. From the standpoint of U.S. policy on Iran, these new sanctions designations are another step in the wrong direction.

On the one hand, sanctioning the Iranian central bank and sovereign wealth fund is a far better option than launching a U.S. military operation against Tehran that would drag the United States into what could easily become a regional war. President Trump recognizes that the American people have no appetite for another decade of U.S. military involvement in the Mideast, least of all with a middling power like Iran whose ambitions are already more than balanced by its antagonistic neighbors.

In choosing to enact more sanctions, however, Trump is doubling down on his ineffective maximum pressure strategy and continuing to travel the very path that helped create this mess in the first place. Instead of de-escalating and searching for a diplomatic exit-ramp, Trump is compounding his original mistake.

This piece was originally published by The Hill on September 23, 2019. Read more HERE.

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