US President Donald Trump threatened Iran with additional sanctions on Monday, but there’s not much left for the US to target because most of the Islamic Republic’s economy has been crippled by earlier penalties. The US is already sanctioning significant sectors including oil, banks and steel, leaving smaller targets including certain exports and government officials. Trump could also hit Iran’s central bank with secondary sanctions, at the risk of hurting humanitarian trade.
“The Donald Trump administration has already hit most of Iran’s cash-earning exports and pushed the country into a deep recession this year,” said Peter Harrell, a fellow at the Center for New American Security, a Washington-based research group.
More than 80 per cent of Iran’s economy is under sanction today, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Sunday before heading to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to rally a front against Iran.
The new sanctions “will be a further effort to ensure that their capacity not only to grow their economy but to evade sanctions becomes more and more difficult,” Pompeo said.