More sanctions on Iran while Trump in office, urges US envoy

“If we discard the leverage we have, it would really be tragic and foolish,” said envoy Elliott Abrams.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

President Donald Trump intends to continue pressuring Iran until the end of his administration, Washington’s Special Envoy for Iran and Venezuela said Wednesday.

Envoy Elliott Abrams said Trump’s sanctions strategy will continue while he remains in office until January and will include a series of new sanctions.

During a video conference hosted by the Berlin Institute, Abrams said he believes that the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden “has a great opportunity” to negotiate a new deal with Tehran.

“There will be sanctions that deal with arms, that deal with weapons of mass destruction, that deal with human rights. … this will continue on for another couple of months, right until the end,” Abrams said.

Two years ago, Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, which he criticized for being too weak and not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program, while allowing the Islamic Republic to continue to stymie international efforts aimed at curtailing its aggression in the region.

A veteran politician who has served in foreign policy and diplomatic positions for Republican presidents since the 1980s, Abrams cautioned Biden not to repeat what he called the mistakes made by the Obama administration.

“If we discard the leverage we have, it would really be tragic and foolish. But if we use it, there is a chance I think for constructive agreement that addresses all of these problems,” Abrams said.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they are unwilling to negotiate until the U.S. removes all sanctions and pays compensation for damages from the losses they incurred.

“The new U.S. government will have to compensate for the bad policies that were enacted over the last four years by the [Trump] administration,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday. “Iran and the United States can agree and declare that both sides are willing to return to the terms and conditions” that existed before Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal.

Biden is scheduled to be sworn into office on January 20. He has said he intends to go back to the nuclear agreement.