This article examines the transatlantic economic sanctions levied against Iran following the US embassy hostage crisis. It charts their shifting objectives and notes their integration with US-Iranian relations, transatlantic dynamics and Cold War concerns. Two main conclusions are drawn. Firstly, that the sanctions pursued multiple objectives besides efforts to coerce the Iranian regime. Secondly, that their economic scope is an unreliable indicator of their effectiveness or transatlantic cooperation. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan enhanced the tactical value of sanctions as a substitute for actions that posed greater geo-political risks for the United States. The European allies, though eager to protect their substantial financial investments in Iran, eventually acquiesced to demonstrate transatlantic solidarity and prevent a US military intervention that threatened their vital interests
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