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Trump, Israel and Gulf states plan a 'flood' of sanctions against Iran as parting gift

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Netanyahu is in Washington to participate in the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords. (Photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. [Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images]

A plan is currently being devised in Israel by senior officials within the Trump administration to make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Axios is reporting that the US envoy for Iran Elliott Abrams arrived in Israel yesterday and met Prime Minister Netanyahu and National Security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat to discuss the sanctions plan.

Abrams is expected to meet with Minister of defence Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to brief them on the plan. Several Gulf states are thought to be pushing for the plan which will see a long string of new sanctions on Iran in the ten weeks until Biden's inauguration on 20 January.

Axios says that the Trump administration believes such a "flood" of sanctions will increase pressure on the Iranians and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

There has been quite a lot of movement behind the scene over the past few. The Trump administration — with the encouragement and assistance of part of the Israeli diplomatic and security establishment — is said to have prepared a "target bank" of Iranian entities that will be sanctioned.

READ: Iran nuclear deal crucial for Gulf security, UN chief says

A source who was privy to the discussion told Axios that Abrams wants to announce a new set of sanctions on Iran every week until 20 January. The goal is to impose sanctions on Iran that are connected to its ballistic missile programme.

Abrams is expected to travel from Israel to two of Trump's closest allies in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to discuss the sanctions plan.

Concerns have been raised over the potential damage Trump could inflict before leaving office. Trump's niece Mary Trump has warned that the president will unleash an act of sour revenge and would not go quietly from the Oval Office.

"We're in for a very difficult 76 day period," warned Mary, who has been outspoken against her uncle. "He can continue to do a lot of damage even though when and if [former] vice president Biden becomes President-elect Biden, he still has the powers of presidency for the next 76 days and we need to be prepared for anything that he might have in mind."

READ: Iran nuclear deal can be saved by goodwill not sanctions – Slovakia's IAEA hopeful says

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