The Trump administration is reinstating all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it.
From today the US sanction will hit oil exports, shipping and banks, all core parts of the economy.
According to President Trump who is gearing up for the US mid-term elections: “The Iran sanctions are very strong. They are the strongest sanctions we’ve ever imposed. And we’ll see what happens with Iran, but they’re not doing very well, I can tell you.”
Predecessor President Obama had worked to establish the 2015 accord aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions but Washington says it wants to stop what it calls Tehran’s “malign” activities including cyber-attacks, ballistic missile tests, and support for terror groups and militias in the Middle East.
More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft will be put on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies with Secretary of State; Mr. Pompeo stating that over 100 big international companies had withdrawn from Iran because of the looming sanctions.
Mr. Pompeo further told Fox News that Iranian oil exports had dropped by nearly one million barrels a day, choking the main source of funding for the country.
Meanwhile the UK, Germany and France – which are among the five countries still committed to the nuclear pact – have all objected to the sanctions.
They have promised to support European firms that do “legitimate business” with Iran and have set up an alternative payment mechanism – or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – that will help companies trade without facing US penalties.
The Trump administration has however granted exemptions to eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, without naming them but media reports claim US allies Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and China are the beneficiaries.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US would not dominate Iran. Thousands of Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday, rejecting calls for talks.
Iran’s military was also quoted as saying it would hold air drills on Monday and Tuesday to prove the country’s defensive capabilities.
The demonstrations took place on the 39th anniversary of the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran, which led to four decades of mutual hostility.