Iran Imposes Useless, Symbolic Sanctions on Americans

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

On the second anniversary of the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Republic imposed sanctions on 52 Americans. The list of Americans on Iran’s 2022 blacklist includes former Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.


Iran’s foreign ministry said that the sanctions came in response to these Americans’ “role in the terrorist crime by the United States against the martyred General Qassem Soleimani and his companions and the promotion of terrorism and violations of fundamental human rights.”

The sanctions mean that these U.S. nationals aren’t allowed to visit Iran and that their assets in Iran will be frozen.

In other words, the sanctions are useless symbolic gestures.

Related: Iran Wants a Nuclear Deal, but Israel Is Ready to Fight Back

One of the Americans on the list expressed just how much the sanctions bothered her.

Last year Iran issued a similar set of sanctions on former President Donald Trump and other Americans in reaction to Soleimani’s killing, which makes the sanctions list a sort of who’s who of Americans who have stood up to Iran.


An Iranian government-run media outlet also announced that the Islamic Republic intends to prosecute 127 people involved in the “assassination” of Soleimani, whom the Iranians have begun to treat as a hero.

Fars News Agency reported:

Iranian Judiciary Spokesman Zabihollah Khodayian said the country has sent 11 letters of request to 9 countries asking for measures against the 127 culprits.

He also said Iran and Iraq have signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard adding that two neighbors have formed working groups which will soon hold their third joint meeting.

Khodayian expressed the hope that with cooperation from the vice president for legal affairs and the department for international affairs of the Judiciary, the assassination of General Soleimani will be followed up on more seriously internationally.

Sure it will.

Additionally, the Biden administration has weighed in.

The Times of Israel reports:

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan responded that “should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.”

Sullivan noted in a statement that the sanctions came “as Iran’s proxy militias continue to attack American troops in the Middle East, and as Iranian officials threaten to carry out terror operations inside the United States and elsewhere around the world.”

“Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens,” he added. “This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served.


I sincerely hope that the U.S. would protect Americans from attacks by Iran, but it’s hard to put too much faith in the Biden administration. I’m also not too confident that the Iranians are shaking in their boots at Sullivan’s words.

In the meantime, congratulations to this year’s inductees into the Iran Sanctions Hall of Fame.


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