TRUMP bared his teeth and announced that the ‘most biting sanctions ever’ are being imposed on Iran and are set to ‘ratchet up to yet another level’ in November.
Iran’s President Rouhani has hit back and called the measures divisive and a form of ‘psychological warfare’.
The sanctions, that came into effect overnight, take aim at various sectors – such as Iran’s car and gold trading industries.
A second phase will come into force in November which will affect Iran’s energy, shipping and petroleum trading industries – among numerous other sectors.
Trump’s tweet made it clear that he expects America’s allies to support the sanctions.
He wrote: “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.”
What has the reaction been?
President Rouhani has expressed his outrage at the sanctions.
He said: “They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation.
“Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense.
We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks… but talks need honesty”.
He added that the measures aim to “sow divisions among Iranians”.
The European Union has also spoken out against the sanctions.
It has vowed to protect firms doing “legitimate business”.
The EU is using a ‘blocking statute’ – the first time it has done so since it used one to protect EU firms from US sanctions against Cuba.
Why is Trump doing it?
Trump’s sanctions come in response to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – which he has called the “worst deal I’ve ever seen”.
The Obama-era deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), waived previous sanctions on Iran if they agreed to curb their nuclear activities.
In May 2018, President Trump announced the US withdrawal from the deal and the reintroduction of economic sanctions on the country.
So far, the only the US has withdrawn – the other signatories remain committed to it.
Is Trump willing to negotiate?
Trump has made it clear in his tweet that he won’t let his allies get away with trading with Iran.
He is, however, willing to reach a new deal with Iran.
Trump says Iran faces a choice to “either change its threatening, destabilising behaviour and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation”.
He also said: “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”.
What are the sanctions?
The sanctions will target everything from imports of pistachios and rugs to Iran’s trade in gold and precious metals.
Other sanctions are related to Iran’s currency, Iran’s car industry and the sale of metals like aluminium, steel and coal.
Further sanctions that come into place on November 5th will target Iranian oil and the country’s Central Bank.
The US blocking of Iranian oil sales is expected to half Iran’s exports of two million barrels of oil a day – a huge hit to the economy.
How damaging the effects of the sanctions are on Iran are yet to be seen.
The consequences of the sanctions are also not likely to be fully felt by Iran until the introduction of the harshes November sanctions.
Whether Trump and Iran’s leaders will meet to forge a new agreement any time soon is also uncertain.
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