US imposes new sanctions on Iran amid looming threat of Israeli attack

The United States and its imperialist allies will imminently announce new sanctions targeting Iran as the US-led war drive against Tehran continues to accelerate.

In a statement Tuesday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US and its G7 allies would announce the sanctions “in the coming days.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“We will not hesitate to continue to take action, in coordination with allies and partners around the world, and with Congress, to hold the Iranian government accountable for its malicious and destabilizing actions,” Sullivan said. He added that the US actions “continue a steady drumbeat of pressure to contain and degrade Iran’s military capacity and effectiveness and confront the full range of its problematic behaviors.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US would impose “additional sanctions action against Iran in the coming days.” The announcement came ahead of a scheduled meeting of the Israeli war cabinet at which Israel is expected to decide whether to carry out strikes against Iran.

Increasingly, the US press is treating a military response by Israel against Iran as inevitable. In an article titled “Restraint or retribution? Israel faces dilemma in its response to Iran’s attack,” CNN wrote:

The US expects Israel’s military response will be limited in scope, a senior administration official and a source familiar with the intelligence told CNN. There is US intelligence to suggest Israel is weighing a narrow and limited strike inside Iran, the second source said.

These developments come as the imperialist powers continue to ever more directly align themselves with Israel, using Iran’s strikes over the weekend as a pretext to abandon their previous nominal criticism of the Gaza genocide. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, “reiterated the UK’s steadfast support for Israel’s security,” according to a UK government spokesperson.

While stating on background that the United States will not directly take part in a strike, US officials have given Israel a green light to attack Iran, reaffirming Washington’s unconditional support for Israel. On Monday, White House spokesman John Kirby declared, “This is an Israeli decision to make, whether and how they’ll respond to what Iran did on Saturday, and we’re going to leave it squarely with them.”

The escalating US-Israeli offensive against Iran comes as Israel continues its genocide against the population of Gaza. On Tuesday, an Israeli airstrike reportedly targeted a playground in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp, killing 11 people, most of whom were children. Al Jazeera reported that “dozens” of people were transported to hospitals following the attack.

Separately, seven police officers charged with protecting food distribution were killed in an airstrike on their vehicle. In a statement, Gaza’s interior ministry condemned the Israeli army’s “repeated, targeted attacks on security forces” throughout Gaza. It added:

We call on all parties within the international community to pressure the occupation to halt its attacks against members of the police force, who are carrying out their duties to serve and protect our people.

Al Jazeera reported that, in yet another airstrike Tuesday, several people were killed when an Israeli jet attacked a residential building in central Rafah. There are more than 1.5 million displaced Palestinians sheltering in the city, amid a looming Israeli offensive that is expected to displace hundreds of thousands of people and kill countless thousands.

In a harrowing report published Tuesday, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor asserted that Israeli forces are broadcasting the recorded sounds of women screaming and children crying in order to lure civilians out from under cover in order to shoot them. The Monitor reported:

Testimonies from camp residents, which were provided to the Euro-Med Monitor team, confirm that the sound of women screaming and babies crying was heard late at night on both Sunday and Monday. When some of the residents went out to investigate and tried to help, they were shot at by Israeli quadcopter drones. The sounds they had heard were, in fact, recordings played by the Israeli drones with the intent of forcing the camp’s residents out into the streets, where they could be easily targeted by snipers and other weaponry.

Another witness described the incident to Al Jazeera, saying, “Yesterday, the area was subjected to Israeli shelling. Three hours after the raids, we heard the voices of children crying out and the voice of a woman.” The witness added, “When we went out, we were subjected to heavy fire from the Israeli army and the sound was coming out of an Israeli quadcopter with four propellers.”

In a statement Tuesday, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned of a “public health catastrophe underway in Gaza,” declaring that “millions of Palestinians in Gaza [are] facing famine, malnutrition and disease outbreaks.” The committee warned that without an immediate ceasefire, 12,000 people were expected to lose their lives as a result of disease.

The statement quoted Dr. Seema Jilani, senior health technical advisor for emergencies at the organization, who said:

No hospitals in Gaza are fully functioning any longer. IRC staff and partners in Gaza continue to witness devastation in the health facilities that are left. Palestinians are often forced to weigh whether it is worth the risk of death or encountering violence to get to a hospital, given unprecedented attacks, total absence of medical supplies, and the burden on existing health services. Patients as young as 4 months old are dying from preventable or easily treatable diseases like pneumonia and gastroenteritis.