Nov 3, 2018 – The Trump administration is to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran that were previously been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
These are the second batch of penalties reinstated since President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in May.
The sanctions will cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.
Officials said the sanctions will remain until Tehran meets several demands, though Iran has said it has no concerns over the restrictions.
These demands include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
Mr Pompeo said the sanctions are “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran” and added “maximum pressure means maximum pressure”.
The sanctions, that will come into force on Monday, penalise countries that do not stop importing Iranian oil.
They also hit foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including the central bank, several private financial institutions as well as state-run port and shipping companies.
But eight countries, identified by officials as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers so they can to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period.
Mr Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people will be added to the sanction’s lists following the move.
Hardliners in the US Congress and elsewhere will probably be disappointed in the sanctions because they were pushing for no oil import waivers.
They also wanted the complete disconnection of Iran from the main international financial messaging network known as Swift.
Mr Mnuchin defended the move to allow some Iranian banks to remain connected to Swift.
He said the Belgium-based firm had been warned it will face penalties if sanctioned institutions can use it.
Mr Pompeo and Mr Mnuchin said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.
“America will not be able to carry out any measure against our great and brave nation … We have the knowledge and the capability to manage the country’s economic affairs,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state TV.
The U.S. government has agreed to let eight countries, including close allies South Korea and Japan, as well as India, keep buying Iranian oil after it reimposes sanctions on Tehran.
“The possibility of America being able to achieve its economic goals through these sanctions is very remote and there is certainly no possibility that it will attain its political goals through such sanctions.
“The new US sanctions will mostly have psychological effects,” Mr Qasemi said.