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US revives Iran sanctions

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August 7, 2018

WASHINGTON/TEHRAN: President Donald Trump unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been suspended under the nuclear agreement signed three years ago.

"The United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences," Trump said in a statement on Monday.

These sanctions will come into force in two stages. The first round of measure will take effect today, while the second would be effective from November 5th onwards. These sanctions are imposed on Iran's automotive sector and on its trade in gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions related to the Iranian riyal. It will also target Iran's trade and energy sectors, including petroleum-related transactions, transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

At the same time, a senior administration official explained that the president remains open to meeting Iranian leaders without preconditions. "The president will meet with the Iranian leadership anytime to discuss another nuclear deal that curbs their malign activity," the official said briefing reporters about the decision.

Trump had announced to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, this May. Once again, he called the previous deal "a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos."

Although, other signatoriesAlthough, other signatories to the deal have called the US action has deeply regrettable, the administration officials cleared that they were not "particularly concerned" about it. They said that nearly 100 international firms have announced intent to leave the Iranian market and that the US will continue to build an international coalition to enforce sanctions. The president himself welcomed the partnership of likeminded nations in these efforts saying, "As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime, I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism."

In a statement he also added that by exiting the JCPOA, the US is able to protect its national security. "To date, my administration has issued 17 rounds of Iran-related sanctions, designating 145 companies and individuals," he said. Since May, the administration has sanctioned 38 Iran-related targets in six separate actions.

The US continues to stand with the long-suffering Iranian people, who are the rightful heirs to Iran's rich heritage and the real victims of the regime's policies, he said adding, "We look forward to the day when the people of Iran, and all people across the region, can prosper together in safety and peace."

If Iran wants to avoid the re-imposition of sanctions it should take up Trump´s offer to negotiate, White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday.

Asked on Fox News what Iran´s leaders could do, Bolton said: "They could take up the president´s offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory." "If Iran were really serious they’d come to the table. We’ll find out whether they are or not."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that Trump and US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia have become isolated by their hostile policies towards Tehran, state TV reported. "Their oppressive policies and violent measures have made them isolated. The world has distanced itself from their hostile policies against Iran," Zarif was quoted as saying.

The European Union expressed concern at the new US move. "We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US," the bloc said in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain.

One EU measure to mitigate the impact of US sanctions, known as the blocking statute, will come into force on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani said the US had launched ‘psychological warfare’ against Iran, in a televised speech Monday on the eve of renewed sanctions. "They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation and create divisions among the people," he said.

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