US Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Iran Ahead of Election

Petroleum Ministry now sanctioned under counterterrorism authority

With an eye toward potentially limiting Joe Biden’s room to move if he wins the election, the Trump  Administration has imposed a new series of sanctions against Iran, targeting the nation’s oil industry, already heavily sanctioned, with counter-terrorism limits.

Built around labeling the Quds Force as terrorists, the US is linking several other parts of Iran’s economy, from the petroleum ministry to the National Iranian Tanker Company, to be terrorists by the same token.

Beyond generally targeting Iran, the US measures are built around keeping Iran, which the US broadly forbids to sell oil and gas, from selling oil and gas to Syria and Venezuela. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says this should “serve as a warning.”

The US doesn’t want Iran to sell, and doesn’t want Venezuela to buy. This has generally not mattered to the two nations. The US seems to want to make a point of putting more sanctions to it, and trying to connect the whole thing to terrorism, but in general it probably won’t hinder ongoing trade, since neither Iran nor Venezuela has many alternatives.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of