WANA (Mar 09) – It is natural for the Iranian people, considering the experiences of 2018 and 2019, to have a concerning image of Trump in their minds.


Trump, by withdrawing from the JCPOA and implementing a maximum-pressure policy against Iran, exerted significant economic pressure, and in 1998, at his order, General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in Iraq.


However, a precise response to the question requires an examination of the current situation and a comparison with the previous Trump era to evaluate the potential impact of Trump’s return to the White House.


Regarding sanctions, there are two sides, one imposing sanctions and the other being sanctioned. On the American side, there are no conceivable new tools.



Since 2019, the maximum pressure campaign has been in full force against Iran, and Biden has likely followed Trump’s policy entirely.

An Iranian man walks past campaign posters for the parliamentary election in Tehran, Iran, February 26, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

As the former U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated, the U.S. sanction toolbox against Iran has no new tools.


In 2024, Trump cannot add anything new, and his behavior is unlikely to differ significantly from Biden’s.


On the sanctioned side of Iran, there is a significant difference in the policies and programs of the established government. In 2018, the then-government, relying on the JCPOA, displayed very vulnerable behaviors in the face of economic sanctions in the field of foreign economic relations.


As a result, with the return of sanctions and their intensification, these relations faced significant challenges, and it took time for some of them to revive. For example, the sale of oil was highly vulnerable to sanctions.


A significant portion of oil revenues was blocked in the oil-buying countries. The one-year wait for European countries to become active also led to the then government’s passive approach to dealing with sanctions.

An Iranian woman walks in front of a wall with an anti-American image on it, after Joe Biden wins the US elections, in Tehran, Iran November 8, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

An Iranian woman walks in front of a wall with an anti-American image after Joe Biden wins the US elections, in Tehran, Iran, November 8, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

The situation is significantly different, and all foreign economic relations have developed under sanction conditions, such as oil sales. Therefore, there is a high resilience against the imposition of sanctions.


Another variable is the international situation, which differs entirely from the previous period. Trump cannot exert pressure on Iran without cooperation from other players.


However, due to increased tensions with the U.S. in recent years, these players, such as China and Russia, will not accompany the U.S. in pressuring Iran.


Overall, Trump’s presence will not change the situation of sanctions and their implementation against Iran. Increased differences between the U.S. and its allies may even further weaken the sanctions system.

Masoud Torabi – International Affairs Expert