US Slaps More Sanctions on Middle East Antagonists
After failing to secure a second term, US President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly plotting to impose a string of last-minute sanctions on US adversaries in the Middle East. On Monday, several outlets reported that the US State and Treasury departments were drawing up plans for immediate penalties to be placed on Iran and Syria. In the Islamic Republic, the US will target government officials and prominent individuals responsible for the violent suppression of Iranian protesters a year ago. Close to 1,500 demonstrators were killed in the government crackdown. In Damascus, the White House slapped restrictions on the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, as well as military officials and members of parliament. “The Treasury Department is determined to continue to apply economic pressure on the Assad regime and its supporters for the repression conducted by the regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added: “The Assad regime has a choice: Take irreversible steps toward a peaceful resolution of this nearly decadelong conflict or face further crippling sanctions.” The US has already banned any investments in or exports to Syria by American citizens, as well as transactions involving oil and energy.