The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s imposition of new sanctions on Iran following its ballistic missile test:
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“The Trump administration is following a dangerous escalatory path with Iran without any diplomatic approach or exit strategy. It’s far easier to provoke crises on Twitter than to de-escalate them. A real diplomatic channel with Iran is needed to maximize U.S. national security.
“While the Trump administration’s designations are consistent with actions previously taken by the Obama administration in that they do not appear to violate the nuclear accord, the Obama administration had established channels for de-escalation and had conducted extensive relationship building with their Iranian counterparts. That enabled the previous administration to pressure Iran without risking a crisis that could spiral out of control. The Trump administration has not done so, and does not appear interested in doing so. Sooner or later, given the numerous tensions with Iran around the region, this escalatory dynamic risks spiraling into war.
“The Trump administration and Congress now need to hold their fire. No amount of sanctions designations will convince Iran to part with a missile program it believes is vital to its defense doctrine, particularly when Iran is vastly outspent militarily by rivals like Saudi Arabia and is being threatened by a superpower in the United States.
“While the Trump administration seems to put a premium on the security of Saudi Arabia – a key source of funding for Jihadi terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al-Qaeda – it does not lie in the interest of the United States to be dragged into a war with Iran on behalf of the Saudi kingdom.
“Moreover, we have seen sanctions result in escalation previously, as well. After recent designations under the Obama administration, Iran directed its military to expand its missile development in defiance to the United States.
“If the Trump administration steps away from threats and hostile rhetoric, it could find Iran willing to discuss key security issues. However, by leading with bombast and threats, it is undercutting the vital work from the previous administration to build some trust and move away from a collision course toward war.”