Treasury secretary says sanctions must be used judiciously

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned against the overuse of financial sanctions even though they are a useful foreign policy tool.

Lew said Wednesday that the United States must guard against the “impulse to reach for sanctions too lightly,” especially in situations where they will have a negligible effect. He says the U.S. could undermine its leadership role in the global economy if it overuses sanctions.

Lew spoke about the evolution of American sanctions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at the same time that Republicans in Congress want to keep them in place against Iran over its nuclear program.

Last year, the U.S. agreed to provide Tehran with sanctions relief in exchange for its promise to curtail programs that would allow it to develop nuclear weapons.