Not the Answer We’re Looking for: U.S. Official Warns Against Sanction Overuse

By April Kent

On April 15, Adam Szubin, the acting undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, warned against overusing sanctions in an address at the Center for a New American Security. He cautioned that “Even when sanctions do work, they can come with negative side effects,” such as retaliation from foreign governments, strain on diplomatic relations, and dampening commercial activity. Szubin’s concerns come as a reaction to the introduction of a bill in early April by Senators Mark Kirk and Marco Rubio that would keep Iran from gaining even indirect access to the U.S. financial system or using U.S. dollars in business transactions. The issue has become particularly important in this U.S. election year, as the remaining Republican presidential candidates have all vowed to tear up or back away from the nuclear deal, which Obama administration officials say would be calamitous.