Iran hasn’t been the only target of U.S. sanctions in the past week.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered retaliatory sanctions again two unnamed U.S. officials after the U.S. ordered sanctions against two Turkish ministers last week.  That action came in response to Turkey’s refusal to release North Carolina pastor ...

The U.S. re-imposed sanctions on Iran on Monday after pulling out of the JCPOA Agreement in May.  European allies responded by issuing a statement saying the nuclear agreement with Iran "is working."   The reimposition of sanctions followed Iranian military exercises in the Gulf last week that U.S. officials largely interpreted ...

In a press conference on Monday, President Donald Trump reiterated his view that meeting with other world leaders is important, and again characterized his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “great”.  While details of that meeting still haven’t been widely shared, the President noted four areas where he ...

In early July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to prevent other countries from exporting oil if U.S. sanctions prevented Iran from selling its oil. Senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders quickly echoed the sentiment, which was followed by U.S. declarations that America would keep oil flowing through the Persian Gulf ...

On the heels of the Helsinki summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it bears revisiting some of the important, outstanding questions that remain about how President Trump might approach the financial sanctions imposed on Russia since its 2014 seizure of Crimea. Measures such as freezing ...

Kenneth M. Pollack is a Resident Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute. It’s not surprising that a great many people would like to push back on Iran, including the Trump Administration.  Over the past decade, Iran has made tremendous gains across the Middle East by taking advantage of America’s disengagement ...

As the world focuses on the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the President’s Treasury Secretary announced sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for their ties to Russian cyber activities, prompting some to question the Administration’s mixed signals on Russia over ...

Weeks after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear accord, the Trump Administration ratcheted up pressure on Iran by imposing harsh sanctions on key Iranian figures who have helped facilitate the Islamic Republic’s continuous array of malign activity in the Middle East. But questions linger around whether this financial-based approach will actually ...

From selling drugs to profiting from a pig farm, Lebanese Hezbollah’s hypocrisy knows no bounds – a political party with a military army that does the bidding of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That was the description of the group by Trump administration officials who announced new sanctions Friday ...

Just ahead of President Donald Trump’s delivery of the State of the Union, the State Department released a list of “influential Russians,” including several politicians and oligarchs, who could face sanctions in the future for their proximity to the Kremlin. The list was later determined to be pulled from Forbes’ ...

“Talk today.” That’s the substance of recent advice Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been giving to President Donald Trump about North Korea. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton takes a different tack. The essence of his message is “strike now.” Both camps are far too impatient. “Absolutely and ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to predict what they see for the year ahead. CIA veteran and Asia hand Amb. Joseph DeTrani spoke about what Beijing could do to check the rising threat from North Korea, including implementing U.N. sanctions that Pyongyang has called an ...

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. government has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in a move that will trigger additional economic sanctions against the rogue nation. This is the second time that North Korea has been listed as a state sponsor of ...

President Donald Trump’s threatened de-certification of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement is sure to damage not just the deal itself, but the ultimate credibility of the United States. But his reported plan to declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group would pose an ever more troubling risk: plunging ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro are in a tit-for-tat of name-calling. Trump, in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York earlier this month, called Maduro a socialist dictator and said, “This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a ...

President Donald Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea on Thursday at the United Nations, measures intended to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The new executive order will target companies that do business with North Korea, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests this summer, alarming world ...

The United States is stepping up calls for China and Russia to comply with new United Nations sanctions on North Korea, a move that experts say would make these measures meaningful and have a significant economic impact on Pyongyang. The United Nations Security Council on Monday night unanimously passed measures ...

Russians are fond of saying “men’she znayesh, dol’she zhivyosh,” translated as, “the less you know the longer you live.” President Vladimir Putin’s formative experience serving as a KGB officer and Director of the FSB explains why the Kremlin seeks to impose cyber sovereignty within its own borders while deploying more ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson capped off a whirlwind weekend at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial meeting in Manilla, Philippines by suggesting the United States would be open to dialogue if North Korea stopped its provocative actions. “The best signal that North Korea could give us that ...

The new sanctions slapped on Iran (and Russia and North Korea) last week by the U.S. Congress—and the sanctions placed the previous week on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by the U.S. Treasury, State, and Justice departments—threaten to make the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA - aka the ...

President Donald Trump’s administration slapped fresh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, shortly after certifying the country is technically complying with the nuclear deal — a move that experts say is a key part of the White House’s approach until the comprehensive review of Iran policy is completed. The Treasury Department ...

Financial sanctions have emerged as a vital strategic weapon for the United States and a primary means of non-military confrontation with nations, companies, and individuals that threaten U.S. and international security. At the national level, Iran was forced to the negotiating table after the U.S. and the international community levied ...

The U.S. government imposes sanctions on individuals, companies, and nations for a variety of reasons, but the practical consequences are always the same: U.S. sanctions make doing business as usual a lot harder. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Adam Smith, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, to discuss the ...

David Cohen, former Deputy Director of the CIA and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, says the U.S. sanctions program is not punitive, but rather designed to encourage a change in behavior. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel asked Cohen to explain how the U.S. determines when ...

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, during three Sunday television interview programs, gave different and sometimes confusing stories about what activities led to President Trump’s firing of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and what still may be going on about that situation. The first thing to note was ...

As a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday unveiled a bill to impose more sanctions on Russia, leaders of the U.S. Intelligence Community gathered again on Capitol Hill to testify on the Kremlin’s interference in the election. The flurry of activity related to Russia also comes amidst a week of ...

Will Congress reassert itself by passing new economic sanctions against Russia for using hacked emails to disrupt the U.S. presidential election if President-elect Donald Trump objects? Last Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Ukraine television that the hacking was equivalent to an attack on a country and thus “an ...

Whether President-elect Donald Trump will keep in place the Obama administration sanctions against Russia for its interference in the U.S. election remains to be seen.   Trump has repeatedly scoffed at the Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee in an effort to help his candidacy, but ...

Sometime in the next 30 days, President Barack Obama should add to the economic sanctions now applied to Russia as a response to Moscow’s hacking and other cyber operations that attempted to disrupt and perhaps influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. In the process, he should bring in ...

The Russian economy has been in recession for nearly two years now, with GDP growth shrinking by 3.7 percent in 2015. However, as the recession continues and persistent low oil prices cut government revenues to the bone, military spending has remained almost immune to cuts, and the country has undertaken ...

There is a small window of time for the United States and its allies to determine what kind of nuclear technologies are delivered to Tehran, and by whom. And the clock is already ticking. The spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization recently announced that Tehran is holding talks with foreign ...

The fifth North Korean nuclear test has left policy makers scrambling for both short term and long term solutions to a problem that, so far, has no solution. Many experts have called for a return to a multilateral negotiation framework such as the Six Party Talks. The Cipher Brief spoke ...

North Korea watchers knew what to expect following Pyongyang’s 4th nuclear test on January 6th, 2016: a new round of United Nations sanctions. Known as UNSC Resolution 2270, this latest group of sanctions increases inspections on cargo vessels, limits the import of North Korean raw materials such as coal, gold, ...

Iran’s every move will be closely scrutinized by the international community now that sanctions have been lifted over its nuclear program, providing Iran access to tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets. Over the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran had completed all the requirements stipulated ...

Although the sanctions on Iran have been lifted as part of the nuclear deal, former Treasury Department official Adam Smith said the U.S. will continue to impose sanctions on Iran for its terrorist, human rights, and ballistic missile activities. Smith told The Cipher Brief that one of the secondary aims ...

Speaking from the White House on the day after the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama proudly declared “Today is a good day” demonstrating what is possible with “strong American diplomacy.”  History will determine whether the Iran deal proves to be the success its proponents already claim it ...

The year 1979 is remembered by most Americans for the takeover of the United States embassy in Tehran.  That year was pivotal for people in the region, as it marked the establishment of an Islamist government in Iran and the takeover of the Holy Mosque in Mecca by a group ...