Iran: Sanctions Show US Offer for Talks Not Serious

Foreign Ministry blasts new sanctions as 'economic terrorism'

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has heavily criticized new US sanctions targeting their petrochemical industry, condemning the move as “economic terrorism,” and saying it proves that President Trump’s offers of negotiations aren’t serious.

This has been the Iranian assessment of Trump’s position for awhile at any rate, of course, but it is noteworthy that even EU officials are increasingly doubting Trump’s sincerity, and don’t see him having a committed position on Iran that’s actually going anywhere.

The visible policy doesn’t always tell the whole story, of course. The Trump Administration defaults to maximum and growing sanctions even when they seemingly really do want to make a deal, as in cases like North Korea. And while often this constantly ratcheting up of sanctions undermines diplomacy, it doesn’t mean those overtures aren’t sincere.

The difference in Iran, however, is that Trump’s off-hand comments on how talks with Iran would be nice never seem to go beyond that suggestion. Diplomats familiar with the situation say that the US has no visible plan to convince Iran to join such talks, and even if they did have made no effort to set up a diplomatic process through which such talks might conceivably be held.

Iranian officials say they view “maximum pressure” as a defeated policy, and that the US should have realized by now it wasb’t going to achieve anything. Even if such a recognition happens, however, it’s not clear the administration has a plan B with Iran, or anyone else for that matter. Hostility and maximum pressure, with constant escalation, is always the administration’s go-to move, and they’ve shown no inclination to recognize when it isn’t working, or even a hint that they might adopt a different strategy.

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.