Using Financial Sticks to Control Iran

FlagBy Juan Zarate & Chip Poncy

The Washington Post

As Congress considers the Iranian nuclear deal, it should also prepare a strategy to use U.S. financial and economic power aggressively against a broad array of Iranian threats. If the deal is adopted, the risks from an enriched, emboldened Iran will only grow. These risks should not be accepted as an unavoidable cost of the deal.

With more capital and better technology, Iran will continue to harass its enemies with cyber attacks, as it has against Western banks, the Sands Casino and Saudi Aramco.

The regime will use its economic control to brutally suppress internal opposition, and concerns over human-rights abuses and regime kleptocracy will grow.

Iranian money laundering and illicit financing — specifically called out internationally and subjected to U.S. regulatory action — will persist. It will be harder to identify sanctions evasion and even more difficult to enforce with greater market enthusiasm for doing business with Iran.

These risks must all be confronted using the financial power that has dominated the post-9/11 period, especially when military options are not available. The United States cannot watch these risks grow without “pushing back” against Iran.

Congress should put in place a new strategy, preserving and strengthening our ability to confront Iran’s rogue activity through the use of financial power. The strategy will succeed if focused on underlying Iranian conduct and accepted international principles.

Continue to full article . . .

Picture: Nick Taylor [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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