A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump will inherit a policy toolkit on Iran full of hammers and screws when he becomes president, a senior Obama administration official said on Sunday.
Adam Szubin, who serves as acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department, said the next president will be presented with a wide array of options as he crafts Iran policy, after focusing for several years on the machinations of sanctions against Iran and its proxies.
Szubin supports the nuclear deal with Iran, and defended it at an appearance at the Jewish Federations’ annual General Assembly in Washington.
But the next president will have the opportunity to tighten sanctions on Iran in other spheres – punishing its malign activity across the region, targeting its proxy organizations, and even snapping back sanctions over its nuclear program – should the coming Trump administration choose to do so.
“I’m not going to speak to hypotheticals, and I don’t often get calls from presidents or presidents-elect,” Szubin said in conversation with Jerusalem Post editor-inchief Yaakov Katz. But “if we get to that time when Iran violates the deal, all hammers have to be available. I want to leave that full tool set available to my successors.
Iran has not reduced its support for terrorism as a result of the nuclear deal.”
Sanctions on Iran unrelated to its nuclear work remain in place, Szubin noted. He touted the Treasury Department’s work in squeezing Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has been forced to cut critical programs – from its salary scheme to death benefits – that determine their legitimacy and their ability to recruit fighters.
“We do retain all of our very aggressive sanctions against Hezbollah,” he said.
“They’re actually in very difficult financial straits – I have said this is probably one of Hezbollah’s low points over the past several decades.”
Szubin also noted that the Gulf Cooperation Council recently listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a step further than the European Union has gone, after listing only its military wing as such.
Szubin said he hopes his successor “understands all of the ways we’ve been acting with respect to their ballistic missile conduct and proxy organizations.”
Advisers to Trump have said he plans to strictly police the Iran nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the 45th commander- in-chief has referred to as one of the worst ever negotiated in history.
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