Saturday, 18 August, 2018

New Trump sanctions on Iran take effect despite pleas from allies

Iran FM says Trump, Mohammed Bin Salman, Netanyahu are ‘isolated’ Iran Says It's Willing To Talk With US 'Right Now' Amid Sanctions
| 07 August, 2018, 15:31

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that any country doing business with Iran will not trade with the US as the first set of US sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect.

The newly reimposed sanctions target transactions with US dollar banknotes; trade in gold and precious metals; direct or indirect sales of graphite and metals such as steel and aluminum; certain transactions related to the Iranian rial; certain transactions related to issuing Iranian sovereign debt; and Iran's automotive sector.

But a second tranche coming into effect on November 5 covering Iran's vital oil sector, could be far more damaging - even if several key customers such as China, India and Turkey have refused to significantly cut their purchases.

Trump announced in May that he was pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal, a key foreign policy legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama, which saw some economic sanctions against Iran lifted in exchange for limits on the country's nuclear programme.

"I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism", Trump said in a statement.

Administration officials, meanwhile, pointed to Iran's ongoing civil unrest and economic woes and reiterated Trump's openness to meeting with Iranian leaders in announcing the sanctions action on Monday.

The European Union´s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc, as well as Britain, France and Germany, deeply regretted Washington´s move.

"Most of the companies have already made up their mind, whether it's the German Siemens, the French carmaker PSA, the Danish Maersk - all these companies that have said they don't want to risk losing access to the United States market, they don't want to risk losing access to the financing in dollars by U.S. banks, and also they don't want to lose their USA shareholders".

Much of the damage has already been done, with Trump's aggressive rhetoric fueling a run on the rial in recent months, while worsening inflation has stoked public protests against the government's management of the economy that have intensified over the past week. "We would like to see a change in the regime behavior, and I think the Iranian people are looking for the same thing".


European Union officials, however, were quoted on Monday as saying that a number of other countries had asked them for details on the blocking regulations as they also explore ways to bypass sanctions.

Most foreign businesses will not invest in Iran and will pull out, opting instead to stay in the good graces of the U.S.

Daimler (DDAIF) said in a statement that Iran's automotive markets have been significantly weaker than expected, and it had not yet resumed production or sale of Mercedes cars or trucks in the country.

"They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation", Mr Rouhani said.

Brussels says protecting businesses based there is necessary because the sanctions have an "unlawful" reach beyond U.S. borders. "Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated", Mr. Zarif told reporters, according to the semi-official ISNA agency.

Money exchange shops across Iran cautiously reopened on Tuesday after being shut for five months amid economic turmoil fanned by America's withdraw from the nuclear deal.

He said Tehran has always believed in resolving disputes diplomatically.

The new U.S. sanctions will likely slash oil supply.

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