Iran Sanctions



Successive Administrations and Congresses have used economic sanctions to try to change Iran’s behavior. U.S. sanctions on Iran—primarily “secondary sanctions” on firms that conduct certain transactions with Iran—have adversely affected Iran’s economy but have arguably not, to date, altered Iran’s pursuit of core strategic objectives including its support for regional armed factions and its development of missiles. Sanctions did contribute to Iran’s decision to enter into a 2015 agreement that put limits on its nuclear program—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).During 2011-2015, in implementation of deliberate U.S. policy, global economic sanctions contributed to the shrinking of Iran’s economy as its crude oil exports fell by more than 50% and it could not access its foreign exchange assets abroad. Upon Iran’s implementation of nuclear program restrictions stipulated by the JCPOA, the Obama Administration eased the relevant sanctions and U.N. and European Union sanctions were lifted as well. Remaining in place were U.S. sanctions on direct trade with Iran and on Iran’s support for regional armed factions, its human rights abuses, and on its efforts to acquire missile and advanced conventional weapons technology.  Read More about this updated volume