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Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

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Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual


Written by Max Blumenthal; Originally appeared at The Gray Zone

Richard Nephew has taken personal credit for depriving Iranians of food and driving up their unemployment rates, celebrating the economic destruction he caused as “a tremendous success.” Under Biden, he will help direct policy on Iran.

The Joseph Biden administration has named Richard Nephew as its Deputy Iran Envoy. As the former Principal Deputy Coordinator of Sanctions Policy for Barack Obama’s State Department, Nephew took personal credit for depriving Iranians of food, sabotaging their automobile industry and driving up unemployment rates. He has described the destruction of Iran’s economy as “a tremendous success,” and lamented during a visit to Russia that food was still plentiful in the country’s capital despite mounting US sanctions.

Nephew’s appointment to a senior diplomatic post suggests that rather than immediately returning to the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration will finesse sanctions illegally imposed by Trump to pressure Iran into an onerous, reworked agreement that Tehran is unlikely to join.

After coordinating Obama’s sanctions regime against Iran, Nephew left the administration for a position at the energy industry-funded Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. There, he published a book outlining in blunt terms how he honed the craft of economic warfare and applied it against Iran.

Entitled “The Art of Sanctions: A View From The Field,” the book’s cover image features two Caucasian hands drawing a rope for a noose, presumably to strangle some insufficiently pliant Global South government. Its contents read like a list of criminal confessions, detailing in chillingly clinical terms how the sanctions Nephew conceived from inside an air conditioned office in Washington immiserated average Iranians.

With his candor, Nephew has shattered the official US rhetoric about “targeted sanctions” that exclusively punish “bad actors” and their business cronies while leaving civilian populations unharmed.

The application of pain to a country’s civilian population is central to Nephew’s sanctions strategy. As he explains in “The Art of Sanctions,” for the unilateral coercive measures to succeed, they must impose significant pain to a state’s most vulnerable sectors, shatter the state’s political and social resolve, and ultimately force the state to cry uncle in the face of Washington’s demands.

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

An excerpt from Richard Nephew’s book The Art of Sanctions

Nephew detailed how, as JCPOA negotiations got underway in January 2012, he led a process to reduce Iran’s oil revenue and starve its economy.

After the Obama administration successfully pushed for a wholesale reduction in oil exports and other unilateral coercive measures, Iran’s economy went from a period of growth to a sudden and staggering contraction, while the value of its currency tumbled.

Nephew pronounced the economic assault he engineered to be “a tremendous success.”

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual
An excerpt from Richard Nephew’s book The Art of Sanctions

Nephew also patted himself on the the back for tripling the price of chicken “during important Iranian holiday periods,” thereby “contribut[ing] to more popular frustration in one bank shot than years of financial restrictions.”

Next, he boasted of more sanctions targeting civilians to prevent Iranians from obtaining the assistance they needed to repair their cars. “Iran’s manufacturing jobs and export revenue were the targets of this sanction,” Nephew wrote.

There were some goods that Nephew wanted Iran to import, however. In hopes of fomenting social unrest, he said Washington “expanded the ability of US and foreign companies to sell Iranians technology used for personal communications” so they could “learn more about the dire straits of their country’s economy…”

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

During a December 6, 2017 panel discussion about his book at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, Nephew detailed with a chilling smile how he not only sabotaged Iran’s automotive industry, but targeted “things like unemployment, to try to drive that up and make things a little more sticky.”

In response to online criticism, Nephew has claimed that “the main target” of the sanctions regime he designed was “the oligarchs.” But his book on “The Art of Sanctions” tells another story.

Nephew fondly recalls how he structured sanctions to sabotage Iranian economic reforms that would have improved the purchasing power of average people. The Obama administration destroyed the economic prospects of Iran’s working-class majority while ensuring that “only the wealthy or those in positions of power could take advantage of Iran’s continued connectedness,” he wrote. As “stories began to emerge from Iran of intensified income inequality and inflation,” Nephew pronounced another success.

As he made clear, the rising inequality “was a choice” that Washington “made on the basis of helping to drive up the pressure on the Iranian economy from internal sources.” Nephew went on to claim credit for October 2012 protests brought on by the devaluation of Iran’s currency.

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

In a fairly stunning admission, Nephew admits at one point that despite providing Iran with supposed humanitarian exceptions on US sanctions, the economic war he helped design caused a catastrophic shortage of medicine and medical devices, largely because average Iranians could not afford them.

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual


Despite acknowledging the heavy toll of human suffering brought on by the sanctions he personally conceived, suggesting they could have prompted high numbers of excess deaths, Nephew appears to be devoid of contrition.

During a December 2016 trip to Moscow, he complained that despite the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, food was still widely available at local restaurants – “hardly a level of pain” that was necessary to bring the Kremlin to heel.

He called to “develop a strategy to carefully, methodically, and efficiently increase pain on those areas [of the Russian economy] that are vulnerabilities and avoid those that are not.”

Biden Iran Envoy Boasted Of Depriving Civilians Of Food In Sadistic Sanctions Manual

So who is Richard Nephew? Does he lurk in the shadow world of intelligence intrigues and spook wars, keeping a low profile while he waits to strike the enemy? Or is he a fire-breathing hardliner bellowing threats against America’s adversaries from Beltway think tank panels? The reality is much more banal.

When he is not snatching chicken from Iranian kids during their winter holiday, Nephew is spending quality time with his own, amusing them with his tattered dad rock t-shirts and flashing arms adorned with tribal tattoos.

In an administration filled with fun-loving, ethnically diverse characters who moonlight as rock guitaristsdecorate the walls of their homes with Haitian art, bob their heads to Tupac, and even enjoy an occasional toke, all while keeping the gears of a ferociously violent empire grinding along, the tattooed sanctions artist seems like a perfect fit.

Meanwhile, in Iran, where a leading daily recently portrayed Nephew as Keanu Reeves in the horror film The Devil’s Advocate, his elevation to a senior diplomatic role is viewed as a sign of more pain to come.


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Lone Ranger

Hope this psychopath will rot in hell soon.
Even Clown News Network showed what the U.S. and saudisis are doing in Yemen among others starving the local population.
It looked like WWII material…
And for what?
U.S. is Crumbling both home and abroad.


Trust in the military is dropping significantly, new survey suggests

Only 37% of Americans (72% Republicans) have any trust or respect for the US military which has been tainted by decades of inconclusive wars in the Middle East, rampant racism and sexual abuse in the ranks and growing number of white supremacists joining the military. With US in rapid economic decline and millions of Americans facing destitution, But only 11 percent said that the military should be the highest priority for budget planners, listing health care and education issues
ahead of defense. A situation very similar to public opinion in the fading days of the USSR.

Ivan Freely

It will not get any better with Harris at the helm. You’d be labelled as a racist and misogynist if you criticized her.


and her husband is jewish which probably will be as bad as the trump/kushner nexus.

Lone Ranger

She on him.
And on the Crumbling pedonazi empire.

Ashok Varma

But the real problem is that anti-US Zionist cabal has complete control over US policy now. These people are only interested in promoting conflicts for the Bilderberg warmongers. They almost convinced Modi to start a war with China, luckily there are enough sane Indians who blocked the Zionist agenda. Now the US is pushing Modi to cosy up with Saudis as well.

Lone Ranger

Time for major and superpowers to get proactive instead of being reactive…
Enough is enough…

Ashok Varma

I personally preferred the Soviet Union and its close ties with emerging non-aligned nations like India. Now we are living in chaotic times and it is imperative that Russia which has a far more sophisticated view of world dangers start building a counter bloc with Iran, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Venezuela etc. China is too busy making money.


China is too big to threaten with sanctions and Walmart shelves would empty out causing redneck riot.

Ivan Freely

Both Walmart and Dollar stores.

Lone Ranger

I think they are already at it, they just should switch into 5th gear.


Not as long as Jews are crawling up every orifice of Russian government.

Jim Allen

You may be about to find the Jews are not so effective against Russia’s ability to counter them. Keeping in mind Russia is working with a budget that spends only within it’s means, while it’s antagonists are financed far beyond their means repay. The 33% compounded interest generally guarantee’s the debt will never be repaid. US pay’s right at a trillion dollars a year in interest on it’s debt.
About the same amount of money it spends on NDAA, but with less to show for it.
The pretenders are in a race against themselves sanctioning Russia, Iran, Syria, etc.. Attempting to strangle multiple countries that possess the wherewithal to effectively counter the effects of whatever sanctions the pretenders can conjure up as they’re destroying their own abilities to enforce the sanctions, and to protect themselves, and their investments from Russia’s countermeasures, to sanctions, and outright domestic replacement of products denied by the sanctions with higher quality, and less expensive, units, outlawing known toxic, unhealthy food items, petro-chemical ag products, GMO, as well as producing world record crops far in excess of the countries needs.
Creating competition on the world market, with superior, non-GMO,
non-toxic fertilizers, pest control, soil amendments, that are in higher demand, and in larger quantity at lower sale pricing.
While this useful idiot brags on his work to strangle Russia, and Iran in particular, his efforts have cost US economic partners billions of fiat US Petrobucks, and Eurobucks, and other bucks in lost trade with a major importer of their products, and creating conditions to make their inferior and more expensive products more difficult to market. Grain crops, (Russia does custom ordered crops now) Harvesting combines are another example. Purchased from US, or EU countries, like Germany, sanctions stopped combines being imported. Russia has needs, so examined the imported combines, design, construction, etc., then designed a more efficient, easier, less costly to maintain, combine at lower initial cost. Built infrastructure from bare ground to driving combines out the factory doors in 2 years. Complete with instructional simulators.
US sanctions against Russia have served only to destroy the economies of it’s NATO allies, and make Russia stronger, more self-sufficient, and grow it’s economy in new, non-oil resources. US Government has treated it’s allies to the same sanctioning practices it does it’s sworn enemies. Germany in particular, the idiocy of attempting to force Germany to abandon Nordstream II after the investments, and completion of the major joint construction project to supply an essential product for home, and industry was/is ridiculous, absurd. Irresponsible at best. Russia has a perfect reputation for reliable, low cost, high quality products, their delivery, without interruption regardless of geopolitical influences, and the whims of corrupt politicians.
US efforts to destroy Germany’s, and EU economies with sanctions has failed miserably, the project will be completed, and was slowed only briefly. While alienating NATO allies, US Government has desperate need of to prosecute the war it’s provoking against countries far too powerful for US to defeat. In conventional, or nuclear war. US Government is counting on it’s nuclear weapons capabilities to prevail, unfortunately it’s chosen enemy possesses a larger number of more advanced technologically, and cabable nuclear weapons, with delivery systems that have no analog. A Russian
counter-attack in response to US military nuclear weapons attack is capable of destroying US/NATO first strike long before the incoming nukes come near their targets. Even attack’s launched from Europe. Nuclear weapons attacks against Russian allies are responded to the same way, Iran has missile defense systems capable of shooting down US nuclear weapons at long range using conventional weapons.
This walking/talking crime against humanity is having his 15 minutes of fame, in Western MSM, while Russia get’s no media play, except US military PsyOps, and propaganda programs against it. Largely ineffective today.
Iran’s economy is suffering, due to 42 years of US sanctions, frozen assets in Western banks, an 8 year war against Iraq, (1980-1988) that Iran won. These measures are designed to strangle Iran to death, long ago, but have failed to do more than slow Iran’s advance.
Then he will pass through the door’s useful idiots pass through when they’re no longer useful. Or, Karma may intervene as Karma does not favor double-standards, and it’s a round world. What goes round, comes round.
His master’s are using his idiocy against his own country, and therefore against him, and his family, personally.
Arrogant of him to list his criminality in his own book. Nuremberg is the perfect Kangaroo Court for a case such as his.
Led Zeppelin is most likely offended by this sociopaths wearing one of their concert shirts.


China unlike the USSR can outspend the bankrupt US in any arms or space race. China’s economy is twice the size of US in real terms while India remains a third world confused dump. US is no match for China in any area. China has the highest number of supercomputers in the world.


Worked and played in the Ex-Warsaw Pact since 80s…really I like these countries…maybe bic Morality and Education.

cechas vodobenikov

this cretin can only sleep at night with tratz of course, if provided a novichok dildo

Ashok Varma

He is part of the same Zionist cabal like Madeleine Albright who gloat at creating human misery. Richard Nephew is a Jew bureaucrat known for his anti-Iran views and lifelong association with AIPAC and US Zionist lobby pressuring for a more hostile policy towards Iran. That casts severe doubts about any US rejoining the JCPOA.

Lone Ranger

Albright said that starving 500,000 Iraqi children to death was totally worth it.
That’s all you need to know about her…

Ashok Varma

These are inhuman savages who only push the US war lobby agenda. This repulsive creature has no real technical qualifications, but an arts degree in ” security studies”. US in general is a totally dehumaized society that has no respect for human life and then if you compound that with Zionist agenda, it become a satanic evil.

Lone Ranger

Well said.
Couldn’t have formulated better myself.

Hasbara Hunter


BESIEGING & STARVING People to Death is a Demonic AngloZioNazi FETISH! The Holodomor was inflicted on the People by the SAME Satanic Parasites…


Frankly, the Zionists have Russia and Iran in their sights and this disgusting turd is saying nothing unexpected. The US has been totally hijacked the Zionist criminal cabal.

comment image

Occupied US Flag


I doubt many people on this site are surprised.. Terrorizing civilian populations is a long standing USA policies against theirs enemies.. Be it an economical or military terrorism – it is integral part of USA policies. Since “terror bombing” and “fire tornado’s” in WW2, trough Hiroshima – Nagasaki, napalm and “agent Orange” in Vietnam, terror bombing of N. Korea, 500 000 dead children of Irak, till sanctions on Iran and unleashing and supporting ISIS in Irak and Syria – terrorizing and killing civilians by the hundreds of thousands is is something, USA cannot go without..


US is the most cowardly murderous low lives on the planet.

Jim Allen

The Brits are still the worst. (Zionist Khazar pretenders)


What you say is right, there is noi shortage of knowledge or ability in any of the fields you mentioned, but requires an administration whose members hold only Iranian passport.
For a few years we had ti fight in 2 fronts.

Maybe after the next 3 months [fingers crossed] somebody listens to your advice?

Pave Way IV

“…my advice to iran use your spy network to steal the tech required for hydropic growing silos from Israel…”

What tech? Seriously – Israel is so short of water that they started to mass-produce drip farming equipment and hydroponic stuff to grow enough food. Good for them, but hardly a big deal anywhere else except for other desert farmers. It’s hardly high tech – it’s plastic tubes,nozzles and pumps. Iran, on the other hand, is huge and has tons of fresh water, rivers and fertile farmland. That’s why Persians lived there. Google sat imagery gives the impression that the entire country is rock. A lot of it is, but nobody lives on the side of a mountain – they live between them or on the plains surrounding them.

The Caspian has 1/3 the salinity of the ocean, and it’s almost freshwater at the northern end from the Volga. Iran needs better infrastructure to move water and food around and less psychopathic global neighbors, not expensive water conservation tricks. Any food insecurity there today is caused by governments – theirs and (unfortunately) mine – the U.S. government.


PS. I didn’t intend to whine this much, it just flew from within through my fingers. I have to say I’m sorry in advance, feel free to not read it but I felt better after spill it out.

Thanks to Rohani admin and his cronies, we lost our self-sufficiency in wheat and livestock food and oil seeds production.
They created a monopoly for everything imaginable, from steel sheets to onions and cucumbers, I’m not kidding. The red meat and poultry is produced more than the country’s need, but somewhere between the farmer and the customer they placed their friends, they play with prices which are soaring and do nothing to control it because they are the leech middlemen themselves.

Rohani comes to TV, looks the nation in the eye and says importing wheat is better than producing it and it’s cheaper, while in reality it’s 5 times more expensive. They play a trick and pull numbers out of their arses. While they increased the rate of foreign currencies for ordinary people (eg, $US is about 250k IRR now) they use a “special” channel where each $US is about 42k IRR and they give it to importers who are their own friends. Naturally if they buy each bushel of wheat for let’s say $6, they say we paid 6x42k IRR while in reality the country is paying 6x250k. By this magic, the locally produced wheat becomes more expensive than the imported one and the farmer goes bankrupt.

While Russia and China were busy adding to their gold stocks, Rohani destroyed close to third of our gold reserves, by trying to “control the market”. How? When a standard gold coin was 50mn IRR in the market, he ordered the CBI to sell each coin for 15mn IRR. But no ordinary person ever managed to buy a single coin, because they never had any. All the gold went to them with a third of its real price and after that fire-sale its price immediately went above 100mn IRR. He did the same with our National Fund. In his 8 years more than 20,000 factories went bankrupt or taken by banks (which have no right to confiscate a factory for being late on payback).

Sorry I found your ears to nag a little bit but this is the true face of “reformists” and “moderates” (many of them dual nationals. Rooting them out is extremely difficult because they are about half of what is the Islamic Republic. Fortunately their base (idiots whose only problem is that they can’t wear shorts in streets or drink in public, including me 2 decades ago) didn’t come to vote for the parliamentary elections, the result was what west calls a “Hardliner” parliament which fixed many of the deliberate mistakes and stood against these leeches in less than 1 year of its age. Judiciary OTOH started to rooting out first from itself since Reisi became its head, then he stated to catch thieves and caught the big ones (including our beloved president’s brother and our dear vice president’s brother, many of the former ministers and current ministers’ families) and Rohani started an incessant whining which is still going on!!

The US sanctions HAD an effect but we adapted. What truly hurts is this admin. I can’t wait for the day I wake up and don’t hear or read anything about reformists.

Pave Way IV

Reformists? Iran needs some Houthis!
BTW, what kind of dual-nationals, Garga? Not that it matters – crooks are crooks.


Haha. We have something equally or even better, we have IRGC.

To your answer, the kind that are subjects of Her Majesty, or holders of the US green Cards or even passports. Canadian passport is also very popular with them since Canadian government doesn’t extradite terrorists or even financial criminals to Iran, even through Interpol red motice. We had to resort to, let’s say unusual ways to bring some of them in while they were under protection of western security and intel agencies.

Many of the ministers, their families, CEOs of state-run companies and their families are dual nationals, many of their families or children live abroad (this is a trend which grew explosively in his almost 8 years as president). Rohani apparently holds a PHD in law from the university of Caledonian Glasgow, but he can’t speak English and knows jack about law. His brother (convicted for theft of public funds, bribery and embezzlement) is his consultant (also the brother of his vice president). Our head of the IAEA is of a famous Bahai family – these are all new revelations. Dr. Zarif was a classmate of John Kerry. It is and used to be normal practice to hire Iranian students in the west, so with all their mismanagement, it’s “highly likely” that they are plants. Nobody in such position is that stupid and stubborn to wreck a country;s economy, environment and industry and not only listening to anybody, but look the people in the eye and tell butt-bare lies. We lost a lot in JCPoA, the document was confidential and recently we found what they accepted and insisted to put in the deal (like missiles weren’t even in the west’s demand list, Russians and Chinese were furious why Iranian team is doing this and our weapons embargo extended 5 more years, again by their insistence, It was to be lifted when the deal was signed in 2015).

Anyway, with each passing day we find out more about them. I condition myself to see the full half of glass and that is, by their doing they finished reformism and moderation in Iran for good which is great. In every single elections they used scare tactic against their competition, they have one single playbook like the American colour revolution handbook and its only strategy is to scare population that without us, you’ll lose your civil liberties. Needless to say that almost all of limitations in civil liberties in Iran is their own cooking.

Now we have a very good man as the head of judiciary (he started a successful war against corruption, the signature of reformists and it caused Rohani to whine non-stop since then). The parliament speaker is an ex-genetal which reformed the police successfully, were Tehran’s mayor and transformed Tehran into a great city to live in and hopefully we’ll elect and have the now resigned general Mohammad (head of Khatam-al-Anbiya construction base) as our president, a very active, clean and great manager.
If we hope to save the country we must boot any dual national and foreign-graduate from key posts -or any post if you ask me- duals have their loyalty to somewhere else and our universities are among the best in the world, it doesn’t matter if they don’t appear in the western built lists. Their output speak for itself.

Jim Allen

Most enlightening.
It’s apparrent there’s some kind of internal issues in Iran that hold it back.
But then there’s problems in every Government, and some forms are more vulnerable to corruption than others. Republic’s in particular.
Don’t apologize for doing nothing wrong. Logical, rational, factual, exchange of information is desirable, and must be encouraged. If/when the willfully ignorant encounter something that offends their delicate sensibilities, and cause their “high moral standards” to cry, and rage they’re entitled to STFU. No one wants to hear that “Karen” rant about thing’s not it’s business in the first place. They’re always free to read something else, or present a rational, factual businesslike argument into the discussion.

Pave Way IV

Israel will announce its ‘peaceful’ nuclear program soon specifically for energy for more desalination plants and water (the Dead Sea thing). The plants themselves are expensive, but the energy costs far more than that. They want to export gas for USD or Euros and finance nuke energy with – what else? – public loans. Their children’s children will be paying for that upcoming fiasco for centuries, provided there’s anything left after they get their long-sought-after war with Iran. Israel is a slow-motion train wreck with nobody to blame but themselves.

Jim Allen

Iran is short of fresh water. Qathafi’s huge water transportation project was to supply Iran with some of it’s water. At least until Secretary of State Clinton had US Coalition forces bomb the project using DU munitions as her parting gift.
Leaving the fresh water supply for 71% of Libyans radioactive for the next few thousand years.

Jim Allen

Unnecessary, it’s sanctions that cause the disparity in Iran’s economy, and have slowed growth in these area’s. Russia, China, and other countries share technology with Iran already. While your description is reasonably accurate, your way behind the curve.
I’ll defer to Mr. Garga to explain it to you.


Dear Captain,
I said what you say is right but the reason is completely different. We do not need to steal the knowledge from anybody for hydroponics, much less from Israel which depleted the water sources in Palestine and what they managed to steal from Syria and Lebanon.
Their only way to survive is desalination. It requires massive amounts of electricity which they don’t produce enough of. So in a few short years, if they are still there, maybe they need to steal knowledge from us for how to survive.

To add another point, comparing Russia’s agriculture with its massive fertile lands and almost unlimited supply of fresh water with the issues you named for Iran is not a fair comparison. If you want to compare, may I suggest diesel and marine engines?

Our problems is self-made by the admin. For example, the oil minister Zanganeh served as oil minister in 4 administration, 16 years in total. During this time he didn’t let the country to build ONE refinery or petrochemical plant. He thinks it’s better to sell crude and import fuel. The refineries and petrochemical plants which are built in these years are all built by IRGC with massive problems for funding. IRGC developed the South Pars gas field which he left for Qatar to extract as much as they desire. And all he did was to throw monkey wrench in the cogs with hope that they’ll eventually get tired and leave it alone, which didn’t work. It’s a miracle that we can produce our own fuel domestically despite all the saboutage.

But he’s always on the front line to cut the ribbons and take the credit. Just like he took credit for repairing Venezuela’s refineries and fuel sales.



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