FNA – Iran sanctions architect under former President Barack Obama, Richard Nephew, derided the new embargos against Tehran, underlining that Washington is unable to increase its pressures against the Islamic Republic as the White House has already exhausted all of its options.
“Practically, I’m struggling to see how this meaningfully adds to the pressure already in place,” Nephew wrote in a sarcastic tweet, hours after the White House imposed new sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on Friday.
Nephew further cast doubt on “the practical consequence” of the new move.
The US Department of the Treasury announced in a press release on Friday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had taken action against the CBI, the National Development Fund of Iran (NDF), and Etemad Tejarate Pars Co. under its counterterrorism authority.
Addressing reporters at the White House on Friday, US President Donald Trump said the new sanctions represent the “highest sanctions ever imposed on a foreign country.”
Nephew ridiculed Trump’s claim for unprecedentedness of the sanctions, adding, “This is even odder. Did we designate the IRGC today? Oh wow, man, that would be a BIG step…if we hadn’t done it over a decade ago. And CBI too? Wow, I mean, if that wasn’t part of the FY12 NDAA.”
In response to the move, Iran’s central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati described the new sanctions a sign of Washington’s inability to exert “leverage.”
“The US administration sanctioning the central bank again shows how empty their hands are in finding leverage against Iran,” Hemmati noted.
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said, “We are witnessing a state of confusion in America’s foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. A new deal with them under the current circumstances seems unlikely.”