Treasury Department plans to impose new sanctions on Iran after Israel attack


Janet Yellen, US treasury secretary, during a news conference at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. 

Tierney L. Cross | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the U.S. is preparing new sanctions on Iran after the country launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel over the weekend.

“Treasury will not hesitate to work with our allies to use our sanctions authority to continue disrupting the Iranian regime’s malign and destabilizing activity,” Yellen said in remarks ahead of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Spring Meetings this week. “The attack by Iran and its proxies underscores the importance of Treasury’s work to use our economic tools to counter Iran’s malign activity.”

Yellen’s comments come as Israel’s wartime Cabinet is weighing how to respond to the attack, which Iran launched in retaliation for an Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate in Syria earlier this month. Israel said it intercepted 99% of the more than 300 projectiles from Iran that came in on Saturday.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran and its proxies in recent years for their connections to terrorism and for the country’s missile program. Yellen said she expects new sanctions in the coming days.

“We don’t preview our sanctions tools, but in discussions I’ve had all options to disrupt terrorist financing of Iran continue to be on the table,” Yellen said.

Yellen said the Treasury may do more to prevent Iran’s ability to export oil despite U.S. sanctions. China has in recent years imported more Iranian oil, which has allowed Tehran to keep a positive trade balance.

“Clearly, Iran is continuing to export some oil. There may be more that we could do. I don’t want to preview our actual sanctions activities, but certainly that remains in focus as a possible area that we could address,” Yellen said.

Yellen said the Treasury has an important role in deterring Iran but that President Joe Biden and the administration are conducting a broader diplomatic initiative.

“From this weekend’s attack to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Iran’s actions threaten the region’s stability and could cause economic spillovers,” Yellen said.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct that Yellen’s comments were from remarks ahead of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Spring Meetings this week.

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