December 11, 2023

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Ron DeSantis Announces Intentions to Sanction Iran in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced plans to expand sanctions against Iran in Florida, following reports that the nation aided in Hamas’ devastating attacks on Israeli civilians this weekend. 

“As a state and a nation, we must stand with Israel following the heinous attacks over the weekend,” said Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday. “With Iran helping plot the barbaric attack against Israel, I want to make it abundantly clear: Florida supports the State of Israel against the Iranian terror state.”

Since early May, Florida has banned Iranian citizens, as well as citizens from six other nations, including China, Russia, and North Korea, from buying land in much of the state. Under this legislation, Florida government organizations were also prohibited from contracting many businesses located in these “countries of concern.”

According to DeSantis, this newest set of proposed sanctions is in direct reaction to reports that the Iranian regime helped plan Hamas’ deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. While the extent of Iran’s involvement in the planning of Hamas violence this weekend has not yet been fully confirmed, it has long been acknowledged that the Iranian government provides significant cash and weapons aid to the terrorist organization. 



According to a one-pager on the proposed legislation, Florida’s state and local governments would be prohibited from doing business with any part of the Iranian “financial, construction, manufacturing, textile, technology, mining, metals, shipping, shipbuilding, and port sectors.” The additional sanctions would not be removed until “both the President and United States Congress…certify that Iran has stopped supporting international terrorism and acquiring weapons of mass destruction,” and the federal government lifts all sanctions against Iran.

“These will be by far the strongest Iran sanctions that any state has enacted of all 50 states throughout this county,” DeSantis said during his announcement of the proposal on Tuesday.

While expansive, it’s unclear how this set of proposed sanctions, if passed, would act as much more than a symbolic gesture—like most political sanctions, it’s unlikely they will actually affect the decisions of the foreign government they’re targeting.

“While political sanctions are justifiable in principle, they’re tough to justify in practice,” University of Richmond philosophy professor Jessica Flanigan and William & Mary professor Christopher Freiman wrote in Reason in March 2022. “For one, public officials are not generally reliable in determining whether and how to effectively impose sanctions against unjust regimes. According to a recent analysis of political sanctions, they’re generally unlikely to achieve major policy changes, regime change, or military impairment.”

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