The Obama Administration issues daily warnings to Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran, noting that such deals dramatically threaten the ongoing diplomacy with the nation. Today was no different.
Actually it was a little different. Though the administration made its same warning to Congress, they also unveiled new sanctions blacklisting more than a dozen companies that do business with Iran.
The puzzling move was followed by a declaration from Treasury undersecretary David Cohen, who yesterday denied any sanctions had been eased, and today warned the world that “Iran is still off limits.”
Technically the new sanctions don’t target Iran directly, but rather Iran’s trading partners, allowing the administration some level of deniability about adding to the sanctions against Iran. It remains to be seen if Iran will view it that way, however, and whether or not it will harm the diplomatic discussion that is ongoing.