US Might Okay ‘Non-Nuclear’ Iran Sanctions

State Dept: We Only Promised No New Nuclear Sanctions

Underscoring the incredibility bad faith in which the US is negotiating with Iran, the State Department’s head negotiator for Iran talks, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, insisted that Congress could theoretically keep slapping new sanctions on Iran so long as they didn’t make it about their civilian nuclear program.

We’d have to look at what the specific language was,” Sherman noted, after being questioned by the Senate Banking Committee about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Iran for “terrorism.”

Sherman went on to say that “the only commitment we have made in this agreement is no new nuclear-related sanctions.” Since the “why” behind US sanctions is usually little more than an afterthought, that suggests the deal is no deal at all.

Though Sherman didn’t suggest such sanctions were planned, the comments clearly give the Senate cover to try to pump out new rounds of sanctions on whatever other flimsy pretext they can, so long as they avoid the word “nuclear.” Whatever the case, such moves are likely to seriously harm diplomacy with Iran and give a boost to hardliners in the Iranian government who have insisted the US couldn’t be trusted to keep its end of the bargain.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.