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President Trump making an announcement on the Iran deal. Photo: Chip Somodeviilla/Getty Images

The latest edition of the Platts Capitol Crude podcast describes yet another challenge the Trump administration faces in trying to punish Iran with new energy sanctions. In short — it's a bandwidth problem.

Why it matters: The administration's ongoing personnel problems compound the already tough task of hitting Iran's energy sector without support for the move from allies in Europe and major Iranian crude buyers in China and elsewhere.

On the record: Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior Treasury Department adviser on sanctions from 2009–2013, says the administration is hobbled as it tries to work with and pressure buyers of Iranian crude.

  • She notes that Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has lost two key members recently, including director John Smith, and the State Department has lots of vacancies.

Quoted: “It will be difficult to explain these measures to foreign companies and business associations, chambers of [commerce], foreign financial regulators and central banks, to say nothing of mount[ing] the enforcement efforts,” said Rosenberg, referring to State’s challenges.

  • “And by the way...these same staff people in the government are surging on North Korea policy, on Venezuela policy, on Russia policy. They have real bandwidth problems,” adds Rosenberg, who now heads the energy program at the Center for a New American Security.

One level deeper: This bandwidth problem goes deeper than sanctions. My Axios colleague Jonathan Swan reports:

"There is barely enough top flight talent confirmed across the government to manage the basic day-to-day, let alone the dizzying array of foreign policy battlefronts Trump has opened up — especially when it comes to trade."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.