US Will Enforce Iran Sanctions Even Without UN Approval

Elliott Abrams threatens foreign armsmakers with sanctions

The Trump Administration’s push to make the UN reimpose sanctions on Iran and extend an arms embargo failed miserably, but officials say that the US intends to enforce the restrictions as though they were actual international law, as opposed to merely what the US wants.

The arms embargo expires in October, and Iran expects to buy some defensive items from Russia. During the embargo, Iran was trying to make all its own arms in-house, but some equipment would be more affordable to outsource.

Elliott Abrams, the US special envoy for Iran sanctions, suggested the US would use “full force” sanctions to try to enforce their policies. This would include threatening sanctions on foreign armsmakers that do business with Iran. He particularly threatened Russian and Chinese companies.

Russian and Chinese companies would be encouraged to make deals with Iran as part of the P5+1 nuclear deal’s sanctions relief, and would be able to rely on domestic banks to finance the deals, something most of the world would struggle with.

It makes sense that they’d face US threats ahead of time, but since almost none of those companies do any business with the US in the first place, losing access to the US markets is probably not nearly as big of a deal.

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.