Iran Sanctions Test U.S. Diplomatic Power

It is fashionable to argue that U.S. global power is fading, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from Iran. Over the past six months, President Donald Trump has turned the global financial system into a weapon against Tehran, despite resistance from virtually every major world power, and he is getting results. The policy has triggered an exodus of corporations and financial institutions that would rather abandon their investments in Iran than risk U.S. Treasury Department sanctions. On Nov. 5, Trump’s Administration made its boldest move yet, restoring crippling penalties on Iran’s oil, banking and shipping sectors.

But if American money is talking, and many of the world’s big business players are walking, it’s less clear whether Trump will achieve the ultimate goal of his “maximum-pressure campaign” against Tehran: diminishing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

The U.S. hasn’t been shy about setting benchmarks for policy success. On the day he unveiled the latest sanctions that now target more than 900 Iranian individuals, businesses and banks, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters, “The Iranian regime has a choice. It can either do a 180-degree turn from its outlaw course of action and act like a normal country, or it can see its economy crumble”…

 

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