U.S. Imposes Toughest New Sanctions on Iran Since ’79 Embassy Seizure

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The Washington Post reports:

The Bush administration plans to roll out an unprecedented package of unilateral sanctions against Iran today, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, according to senior administration officials.

The package, scheduled to be announced jointly by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., marks the first time that the United States has tried to isolate or punish another country’s military. It is the broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, the officials said. …

The Bush administration plans to roll out an unprecedented package of unilateral sanctions against Iran today, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, according to senior administration officials.

The package, scheduled to be announced jointly by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., marks the first time that the United States has tried to isolate or punish another country’s military. It is the broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, the officials said.

“I wonder why it took them so long,” comments a Hill staffer of the administration’s long reported plans to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and/or its Quds Force as a sponsor of terrorism. “Sounds like a tug of war between Rice/Gates and the VP office. They apparently cut down the middle, designating the entire Revolutionary Guard as a WMD proliferator, but limiting the state sponsor of terror designation to the Qods Force alone.”

Washington is ratcheting up the pressure as the administration continues to be riven by a dispute between those who believe the US should continue to pursue tough diplomacy to get Iran to change its behavior, and those who believe the US should strike Iran. As the Post notes, “Administration officials say that they are imposing new sanctions to demonstrate a commitment to diplomacy, even amid increasing rumblings from neoconservatives outside the administration about possible military action.”

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