The Trump administration, in coordination with Israel and many Gulf states, is pushing for a long-term plan to impose new sanctions on Iran, which, if left unanswered until Biden’s inauguration on January 20, two Israeli sources told me. .
Driving News: The Trump administration’s envoy to Iran, Elliott Abrams, arrived in Israel on Sunday and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and National Security Adviser Mir Ben-Shabab to discuss sanctions plans.
- On Monday, Abrams will meet with Defense Minister Benny Gentz and Foreign Minister Gabby Ashkenazi and brief them on the plan.
- Abrams did not respond to a request for comment.
Why it’s important: The Trump administration believes such a “flood” of sanctions will increase pressure on Iranians and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Israeli sources told me.
Behind the scenes: Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration – with the encouragement and assistance of part of the Israeli diplomatic and security establishment – has set up a “target bank” of Iranian entities, which will be approved.
- A source told me in a closed briefing several days ago that the Trump administration wants to announce a new group every week on Iran by January 20, a briefing that is private.
- Israeli sources told me that the planned sanctions are not linked to Iran’s nuclear program – such sanctions are likely to be lifted by the Biden administration and pave the way for a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
- Instead, the goal is to impose sanctions on Iran that are linked to its ballistic missile program, providing Iranian assistance to terrorist organizations and violating Iranian human rights.
What they are saying: “The goal is to impose as many sanctions on Iran as possible by January 20,” an Israeli source told me about the plan.
What’s next: Abrams will discuss plans to travel from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.
- The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the two main allies of the Trump administration and the Israeli government against Iran, and both are deeply concerned about the Biden administration’s future Iran policy.
- Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo is coming to Israel on November 18, Israeli and US officials tell me. Pompo probably. He will also visit other countries in the region. His trip is also going to focus on the Trump administration’s last ditch efforts to increase pressure on Iran.
Go deep: How can Biden resolve the Iran deal?