U.S. to Sanction Russian, Iranian Companies over Reconstruction in Syria

The administration of President Donald Trump is drafting a strategy allowing to impose sanctions against Russian and Iranian companies involved in post-war reconstruction in Syria, NBC News reported citing sources “familiar with the plan.”

According to the sources, the strategy “would emphasize political and diplomatic efforts to force Iran out of Syria by squeezing it financially.” The plan’s provisions “would withhold reconstruction aid from areas where Iranian and Russian forces are present” and “would also impose sanctions on Russian and Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria.”

Washington’s final goal is to push “Iran’s military and its proxy forces” out of the country. Although the new strategy does not envisage the U.S. servicemen directly targeting Iranian soldiers, it still reserves an opportunity for the U.S. military to “strike the Iranian military if it felt threatened.”

One of the channel’s sources said that despite Washington’s public statements identifying the Islamic State terrorist group as the main target for U.S. forces in the country, “the White House and State Department would increase their focus on countering Iran by squeezing them economically and diplomatically.”

In August, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said the White House had rejected a Russian proposal to put off sanctions on Iran’s oil sector in exchange for a rollback of Iranian forces in Syria, despite Israeli calls for an immediate withdrawal.

Then in September, Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria, said the United States will pursue “a strategy of isolation,” including sanctions, with its allies if President Bashar al-Assad holds up a political process aimed at ending Syria’s seven-year war.

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