Stories by Barbara Slavin

Expert Voices

Renewed sanctions will hurt Iran's economy, but U.S. benefits uncertain

A man takes a glance at a newspaper with a picture of US president Donald Trump on the front page, in the capital Tehran on July 31, 2018.
A newspaper in Tehran on July 31, 2018. Iran's currency lost nearly two-thirds of its value since the start of the year as U.S. sanctions loomed. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the first tranche of U.S. sanctions against Iran lifted by the 2015 nuclear deal will snap back into place — a result of President Trump's withdrawal from the deal that comes in spite of Iran’s continued compliance. The re-imposed penalties will restrict foreign investment in Iran’s automotive sector and Iran’s purchases of dollars and precious metals.

The big picture: The Trump administration hopes the sanctions will curb Iran’s "malign" activities in the Middle East, but there's little likelihood of that result, especially since Assad has “won” in Syria, and Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, remains bogged down in Yemen. Although widespread protests have erupted in Iran since late last year, there are no assurances that Iranians will overthrow their government and replace it with one more attractive to Washington and its allies.

Expert Voices

Pompeo invokes human rights to defend administration's Iran policy

Mike Pompeo speaking at UN
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the U.N. headquarters in New York City on July 20, 2018. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Speaking on Sunday before a partially Iranian American audience at the Reagan Foundation in southern California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran’s leaders of stealing the country’s resources to spread revolution abroad and oppress Iran’s 80 million people.

Why it matters: Pompeo’s heavily advertised speech was the biggest installment yet in a Trump administration information campaign designed to pressure and, if possible, destabilize the Iranian government.

Expert Voices

Trump's Iran sanctions could lead to volatile gas prices, recession

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Swiss President Alain Berset clap as Iranian and Swiss officials shake hands after signing an agreement in Bern.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Swiss President Alain Berset clap as Iranian and Swiss officials shake hands after signing an agreement in Bern on July 3, 2018. Photo: Ruben Sprich/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal throws a new degree of uncertainty into global oil markets and poses a stark dilemma for U.S. foreign policy.

The big picture: The Trump administration's efforts to drastically reduce Iran’s oil exports might risk a massive blow to U.S. consumers and allies. If Trump's “maximum pressure” campaign succeeds, the volatile and rising gasoline prices that result could finally dent his approval ratings, even among hardline supporters, and spark a global recession.