US Reportedly Plans to Slap Iran's Missile, Drone Building Industry With Sanctions
© AP Photo / Sepahnews In this photo released on Saturday, May 21, 2021, by Sepahnews, the website of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a new Gaza drone is displayed in an undisclosed location in Iran. (Sepahnews via AP)
© AP Photo / Sepahnews
Iran strongly rejected attempts to limit its ballistic missile programme's capabilities, in addition to the limits imposed on its nuclear programme, in 2015. Tehran noted that it has the sovereign right to develop its own weapons, excluding nuclear weapons.
The White House is planning to slap new sanctions against Iran as it struggles to negotiate the lifting of those existing in exchange for Tehran's return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous US officials. The new sanctions will reportedly target Iran's guided missile and drone building capabilities.
"It’s part of a comprehensive approach so we’re dealing with all aspects of the Iranian threat", the outlet cites an unnamed US official as saying.
The WSJ claims the decision is prompted by an assessment that the Islamic republic's guided missiles and drones currently present a bigger threat than the prospect of the manufacture of nuclear weapons to the Middle East stability. Tehran has repeatedly rejected notions that it either seeks to build nuclear weapons, or is responsible for destabilising the region. According to Iranian authorities, the US and Israel are the most significant sources of disturbance in the Middle East.
In the past, Washington imposed sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile programme, which was never ruled illegal by the UN Security Council, despite a disapproval of its development by Tehran. Now, the US will reportedly be targeting guided missile and drone programs, undermining the supply chain for parts needed in their production, WSJ sources claim. Last week, the same outlet claimed that the White House also eyes slapping sanctions on the allegedly continuing oil trade between Tehran and Beijing.
New Sanctions Amid Failing Iran Nuclear Deal Talks
The reported plans for new sanctions against Iran are bound to complicate things for the US in the field of returning Tehran to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal – a 2015 accord that started to collapse in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the country from the agreement. The Biden administration tried to negotiate Iran's return to compliance with the JCPOA, which it had been gradually abandoning since 2019, in exchange for lifting most of the sanctions introduced against the country's oil trade and other industries. However, these efforts have proved to be fruitless, with talks failing by June 2021, ahead of Iran's presidential election.
Tehran's anti-West hardliner Ebrahim Raisi won the election, but he generally supported the idea of returning to the JCPOA if it means the complete removal of sanctions from the country. Raisi refuses, however, to restart the failed talks unless Washington lifts sanctions – a prerequisite first introduced under outgoing President Hassan Rouhani. The US not only refuses to lift the sanctions in advance, but is also reportedly mulling leaving some in place regardless of the outcome of the talks.