The Trump administration on Friday announced the re-imposition of all US. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The sanctions will take effect on Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors. It’s the second batch of penalties that the administration has re-imposed since President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark deal in May.
With limited exceptions, the sanctions will penalize countries that don’t stop importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including Iran’s central bank, a number of private financial institutions and state-run port and shipping companies.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions are “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
He has released a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted. They include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
“Maximum pressure means maximum pressure,” he said.
Pompeo said eight nations, which other officials identified as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as long as they end such imports entirely. He said those countries had made efforts to eliminate their imports but could not complete the task by Monday’s deadline.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions lists under the reimposed sanctions.
Iran hard-liners in Congress and elsewhere probably will be disappointed in the sanctions because they were pushing for no oil import waivers as well as the complete disconnection of Iran from the main international financial messaging network known as SWIFT.
Mnuchin defended the move to allow some Iranian banks to remain connected to SWIFT, saying that the Belgium-based firm had been warned that it will face penalties if sanctioned institutions are permitted to use it.
Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.
Iran dismisses fresh US curbs
Iran said on Friday it had no concerns over the reimposition of new US sanctions on the country’s vital oil and financial sectors, expected to be announced by Washington on November 4.
“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 US 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,” Qasemi said.
“The new US sanctions will mostly have psychological effects.”