USA sanctions on Iran oil officially begins

Leroy Wright
November 5, 2018

US sanctions on Iran were fully restored Monday, opening a new phase of conflict between the two countries since Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this year.

The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium.

"Watch what we do", Pompeo said in an interview to Fox News in response to a direct question if the United States has a firm commitment from China and India that they will reduce their intake to zero in six months, the duration of the exemption.

All of the other signatories, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Russia and the United Kingdom, have remained in the deal despite USA action.

"In the medium term, it will backfire; the USA and its allies will lose influence, while Iran will gain confidence and power", he wrote on the website of the Middle East Eye.

Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee responded to the administration's announcement, specifically noting the SWIFT transactions issues as well as the issuance of SREs: "More must be done to press the SWIFT financial messaging service to once again sever connections with the Central Bank of Iran and other sanctioned Iranian banks by a certain date".

Promoted by the Trump administration as the "strongest sanctions in history", the reality of the new restrictions does not match its original hype, according to the BBC.

Brian Hook, the special adviser to the secretary of state and special representative for Iran, told PBS News that the U.S. is not looking to give any exceptions or waivers to its sanctions regime.

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The new American sanctions particularly hurt Iran's vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its struggling economy.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state TV that Iran would break the sanctions and continue to sell oil.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending the Trump administration's reimposition of sanctions against Iran from conservative critics who argue more should be done to isolate the country.

"We were not aware of this and would prefer that our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes", said HBO. "The challenge between the USA and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far and the United States has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday also thanked Trump for the sanctions against his country's main enemy.

Diplomats told Reuters last month that the new European Union mechanism to facilitate payments for Iranian oil exports should be legally in place by November 4 but not operational until early next year.

"A loss of one million bpd from Iran, further declines in Venezuela, coupled together with geopolitical disruption in Libya and Nigeria could easily wipe out what little spare capacity we have left", Bernstein analysts said last week. The renewed sanctions are designed "to paralyse the (Iran's) economy and keep it backwards".

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