According to a report from The Wall Street Journal published Thursday, the US is planning a sanctions campaign against Iran’s drones and guided missiles.
The report comes as indirect negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear deal are stalled and won’t begin until after Iran’s new president takes over. But the unnamed US officials cited in the report said the sanctions against Iran’s weapons program would be a separate policy from the nuclear deal negotiations.
Whether or not the US considers Tehran’s missiles and drones separate from the nuclear deal, imposing new sanctions on Iran at this point would discourage the Iranians from negotiating further and could sabotage the chances for a JCPOA revival. The US is also reportedly considering new sanctions that would target Iran’s oil sales to China.
The US officials speaking to the Journal said they want to target Iran’s missiles and drones due to the “threats” facing US allies in the region. The report cited Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia as an example of the threats but omitted the fact that the Saudis have been waging a brutal war on Yemen since 2015, which is why the Houthis are attacking the kingdom.
The Houthis are also not the Iranian proxy Western media portrays them to be. Iran openly supports the group politically, but it’s not clear how much military support they provide the Houthis, if any. The US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has been imposing a blockade on the country since the war started, making it difficult to get weapons into the country.