The United States has long promised to ensure trade in humanitarian goods for countries under its economic sanctions. Yet the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran is rendering these legal exemptions unworkable in practice.
Since the 1979 storming of the embassy and seizure of American diplomats in Tehran, the United States has imposed wave after wave of sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Over time, the sanctions have grown from Executive orders aimed at Iranian support for terrorism into a far more comprehensive congressional and international regime that focuses on Iran’s nuclear program. As negotiations over this program continue, legal analysis of non-proliferation agreements, sanctions law and the respective foreign policy powers of Congress and the President have become inextricably linked to the diplomatic initiative with the Islamic Republic.