The Obama administration’s plan to sanction Iran looks a lot like that of his predecessor. Officials say that if nuclear talks with Iran fail, they will likely tighten enforcement of Bush sanctions rather than impose new ones, the Washington Post reports. Obama has even retained the top architect of Bush’s effort, Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey, to ensure continuity. Their goal: make it difficult for Iran to trade with the world.
To that end, they plan to target insurance companies that back Iranian shipping operations, and companies that avoid trade restrictions by routing goods through Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, or Hong Kong. Those measures could be in place by New Year’s, but beyond that, the administration’s options are limited, because it doesn't want to do anything unilaterally that will interfere with building a consensus among governments to put pressure on Iran.