Sanctions a ‘severe blow’ to Iran

US President Donald Trump has announced additional sanctions against Iran. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

IN a step that could spell the beginning of the end for the Iranian regime, America has hit it with crushing sanctions.

Tehran was devastated earlier this year when Donald Trump said that he shared Israel’s disdain for the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, and abandoned the deal.

But the real pain for Iran, and the real win for the Israeli government, is now. Sanctions have been reintroduced gradually over recent months, and on Monday, America imposed the most devastating sanctions to date.

They target banking, the oil industry, and other sectors in Iran, and have the potential to exert a major impact on the country’s economy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the sanctions will mean that Iran has “zero oil revenue to spend on terrorism, missile proliferation, regional proxies, or a nuclear program”.

It is unclear whether the Trump administration is trying to financially batter the Iranian regime into submission, agreeing to renegotiate a nuclear deal with the US to lift sanctions, or whether it wants to destabilise and topple the regime.

There have been mixed messages from the US administration regarding its attitude towards forcing regime change in Iran.

Whatever Trump’s game plan, Israeli leaders are applauding his move. It was a “courageous, determined and important decision”, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And Monday, when the sanctions were reimposed, was “a great day” for Israel, its citizens and the future of the state, he said.

The sanctions, especially those on banking, will “add a very severe blow to Iran’s terrorist regime”, Netanyahu predicted. His cabinet colleague Naftali Bennett, Education Minister, thanked Trump “for making the ayatollahs scared again”.

NATHAN JEFFAY