IRAN HAS INCREASINGLY DESTABILIZED THE MIDDLE EAST: This regime has used the benefits it received as a result of sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to build ballistic missiles, support terrorists and terrorism, steal critical resources from its own people and wreak havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond. Our European Union partners have assured us the JCPOA will not be used to stop action against Iran’s malign behavior.

  • Instead of focusing on the well-being of its population, and using its economic resources to build a more stable, secure, and prosperous Iran, the regime has:
    • Spent in excess of $16 billion propping up the Assad regime and supporting its other partners and proxies in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen since 2012;
    • Provided terror group Lebanese Hizballah with approximately $700 million every year; and
    • Provided approximately $100 million a year to terror groups including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  • Since the implementation of the JCPOA, Iran’s military budget has grown by 37% – a rate far higher than the overall budget growth or the economic growth during the same period.
  • Iran has exploited the international financial system, including by running an extensive, large-scale currency exchange network that procured and transferred millions of dollars to the IRGC-Qods Force in order to support its malign regional activities and facilitate the hostile activities of regional proxy groups.
  • Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) economic corruption is widespread. The IRGC and its affiliated companies in Iran extort bribes, intimidate competition, and suppress genuine economic growth in Iran.

PROTECTING AMERICA: The United States will act to deny Iranian leadership the resources, wealth, funds, and capacity to continue to foment terrorism around the world and to deny the people inside of Iran the freedoms that they so richly deserve. The re-imposition of pre-JCPOA sanctions is only the beginning of the most aggressive sanctions campaign in history.

MAXIMUM ECONOMIC PRESSURE TO SUPPORT A BRIGHTER GLOBAL FUTURE: Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world. Nevertheless, the United States believes that the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land.

  • Our sanctions are designed to bring the Iranian regime back to the negotiating table as quickly as possible. The Iranian regime has used the proceeds generated by the sectors that we have targeted with our sanctions to engage in a range of malign activities, including systematic human rights abuses, promoting regional instability, facilitating proliferation activities, and lining the pockets of corrupt regime officials at the expense of the Iranian people.
  • The United States maintains broad authorizations and exceptions under U.S. sanctions that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran from the United States or by U.S. persons or U.S. –owned or –controlled foreign entities. U.S. sanctions laws provide similar allowances for sales of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to Iran by non-U.S. persons.
  • Iran’s increased oil revenues could have gone towards improving the lives of the Iranian people, instead they went to terrorists, dictators, and proxy militias.
  • We hear the cries of the Iranian people…“The people are paupers while the mullahs live like gods,” and our message is simple: we hear you, and we are with you.
  • An important goal of U.S. Iran sanctions is to curtail the Iranian regime’s ability to engage in malign activities, and to encourage the regime to change its behavior. Our demands of the Iranian regime are not unreasonable, and are, in fact, very simple:
    • Iran must stop its proliferation-sensitive nuclear programs;
    • Iran must end unjust detention of American and foreign citizens; and
    • Iran must stop its threatening behavior against its neighbors and its support for terrorism.
  • In return for these actions, the United States would be willing to enter into a formal treaty with Iran to end the principal components of our sanctions against the regime. We would be willing to re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relationships with Iran, and we would be prepared to allow Iran to have advanced technology. Moreover, we would be prepared to support the modernization and reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system.

For additional information on Iran sanctions, please visit the following:

U.S. Department of State

Welcome to the new State.gov

Our new design makes it easier to find and learn about the State Department’s programs and services—from passports and visas to learning how U.S. diplomacy benefits the American people.