update deskIsrael at War

US, EU announce new sanctions on Iran missile, drone programs

Western leaders hope promised actions will dissuade Israel from attacking the Islamic Republic.

An Iranian flag over a missile, April 2022. Credit: Mohasseyn/Shutterstock.
An Iranian flag over a missile, April 2022. Credit: Mohasseyn/Shutterstock.

Western countries, fearing Israeli military retaliation against Iran following its April 14 attack, have ramped up threats of economic reprisals against the Islamic Republic, announcing sanctions on the country’s missile and drone programs.

On Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel was the latest leader to declare sanctions on Iran’s missile and drone program. “It’s a clear signal that we want to send. We need to isolate Iran,” Michel said, after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels.

He said details would be forthcoming in the next few days.

Michel’s announcement came shortly after the foreign ministers of the U.K. and Germany, David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock, visited Israel on Wednesday to urge restraint in its response to Iran’s assault.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “They also have all kinds of suggestions and advice. I appreciate those, but I want to make it clear: We will make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself.”

On Tuesday, U.S. officials also announced new sanctions.

“In the coming days, the United States will impose new sanctions targeting Iran, including its missile and drone program as well as new sanctions against entities supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Defense Ministry,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.

“We anticipate that our allies and partners will soon be following with their own sanctions,” he added.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday, “Treasury will not hesitate to work with our allies to use our sanctions authority to continue disrupting the Iranian regime’s malign and destabilizing activity.”

She said that the U.S. may impose more sanctions on Iran’s ability to export oil. “Clearly, Iran is continuing to export some oil. There may be more that we could do. I don’t want to preview our actual sanctions activities, but certainly that remains in focus as a possible area that we could address,” Yellen said.

The Biden administration has until now loosened sanctions on Iran. It has waived sanctions allowing Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work at Iranian nuclear sites. It has allowed Iraq to pay for Iranian electricity by transferring hard currency to accounts in third countries.

Since Biden became president, Iran has enjoyed a surge in oil revenue by an additional $32 billion-$35 billion, according to a February 2023 assessment by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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