The implications of President Trump reintroducing economic sanctions on Iran

The implications of President Trump reintroducing economic sanctions on Iran

President Trump has recently announced that the US would be reintroducing sanctions on Iran, preceding the historic 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement. The agreement in 2015 brought together several countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, and Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, in return for economic and trade relief. Since President Trump took office in January 2017, he has spoken out against what he believes were one-sided and disastrous agreements under President Obama, and in May 2018 he announced that the US would be withdrawing from the agreement. So, the reintroduction of sanctions is the next step up in regards to Iran.

Trump coupled the announcement with a tweet, which many people criticised as trivialising a severe foreign policy situation. The sanctions are expected to target Iran’s trade and economy with serious repercussions for hundreds of individuals, oil companies and major banks. The US has outlined that Iran will have to meet 12 demands if the sanctions are to be lifted. These demands include Iran ending support for militants and completely ending its ballistic missile development. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi responded by saying that Iran had “the knowledge and the capability to manage the country's economic affairs.”

Ministers of the UK, France, and Germany issued a joint statement in which they said “We deeply regret the further re-imposition of sanctions by the US, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” and that they “remain committed to implementing the JCPoA as a matter of respecting international agreements and of our shared international security, and expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard”. This signals a clear consensus within the European partners to continue to back the agreement despite US withdrawal and the reintroduction of sanctions on Iran. It furthers the idea that European consensus is needed now more than ever to achieve meaningful geopolitical progress without the US.

By taking this action, President Trump is continuing with his America First and isolationist approach to foreign policy positions. This leads to a more unstable and uncertain period, due to the actions of an influential superpower, who is willing to turn its back on certain agreements without coming to a mutually agreed resolution. This continued approach is leading many US’ partners and allies in seeking a stronger and more productive relationship together, as shown by the UK, France, and Germany committing to the agreement despite the US actions.

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