Washington ramps up Iran sanctions

Today, Monday, Washington is imposing what it describes as its toughest sanctions yet on Iran. They take aim at the country's oil industry, financial sector and transportation industry. After signing the nuclear pact with Iran in 2015 the US had suspended its sanctions. Commentators say Washington may have miscalculated with this hard line.

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Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

In a different class to North Korea

The US president will not succeed with his brutish methods this time, Der Tagesspiegel suspects:

“The front is anything but united. ... Apart from America every other signatory wants to stick to the agreement with Tehran. ... The problem is further compounded by the fact that Trump is underestimating the resolve of his opponent. In the eyes of the Iranian regime, it has successfully resisted its mortal enemy the United States since the 1979 Revolution. The fact that Washington is again trying to force the country to its knees only adds grist to the mill of the ideological hardliners, making them hate the West even more. ... This makes Iran an opponent of an entirely different calibre, compared to the likes of Kim Jong Un.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Washington seeking to topple regime

Trump is hoping that the Iranians will soon turn their anger against their own government, comments Paolo Mastrolilli, La Stampa's New York correspondent:

“Officially, Washington says it doesn't want a regime change but only a profound change in Iran's behaviour. ... However, beneath the surface there is a considerable desire to induce a regime change from the bottom up, according to many analysts. Sanctions have already got the Iranian economy in a stranglehold. But before they make an impact on the Republican Guard they are stirring up resentment among the population, driving it to protest and weakening President Rouhani's already weak government. New sanctions could promote the rise of the hardliners, but could also intensify the anger of the people.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Tehran should avoid antagonising EU

Dagens Nyheter can't understand why Iran isn't on its best behaviour with the EU:

“The Iranian currency has dropped 70 percent against the dollar within a year, inflation is soaring and the economy is on the brink of the abyss. Against this background, it's hard to understand the recent revelations about Iran's aggressive actions in Europe. Last week reports came out that the Iranian secret service had been planning to assassinate exiled Iranians in Denmark; an Iranian with a Norwegian passport was arrested by the Säpo [security service] in Göteborg. In the summer a terrorism plot in France came to light, with connections to Belgium and Austria. One year ago an exiled Iranian was murdered in the Netherlands. Considering that Iran is embroiled in a confrontation with the US, you would think it might be more careful about maintaining good relations with the EU.”