Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

USA drops the sanctions hammer on Iran ... again

A Saudi Arabian oil facility Arabian oil facility
Priscilla Morrison | 05 November, 2018, 16:27

"Petrochemicals are key to our economy, and we stressed that if we're hit by the Iran sanctions, it would pose grave challenges to our whole economy", said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of country's military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said last week that President Hassan Rouhani's cellphone was tapped recently.

On Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for reimposing the sanctions.

The reimposition of the sanctions came as the U.S.is focused on Tuesday's congressional and gubernatorial elections.

World oil markets were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, Wallace wasn't satisfied with Pompeo's answer, so he asked again: "Specifically, sir, do you have a firm commitment from India and China that they will stop all oil purchases from Iran in six months?" He did not name those countries, but was likely referring to China, France, Russia and Britain, which along with Germany made up the world powers involved in the 2015 nuclear deal. Sources said this could be used under the Trump administration too for 8 countries.

"This is an economic war against Iran but".

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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.

According to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the sweeping sanctions will see 700 people blacklisted, including people who were granted relief under the 2015 nuclear deal, as well as over 300 new names in Iran's oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors. "That's the mission, these sanctions are a part of our effort, and they're already being felt by the Iranian leadership", he said. When questioned about whether the European Union or other nations or jurisdictions would receive waivers (or SREs, "significant reduction exemptions"), he answered "T$3 he EU will not be receiving an SRE".

Israel's prime minister is lauding the newly restored USA sanctions against Iran as "historic", saying they will "strangle" what he described as Iranian state-sponsored terrorism. "Right now they just want to survive", he told a rally in Tennessee, Reuters reported.

Senior Iranian officials have dismissed concerns about the impact to its economy. Its national currency has plummeted over the previous year amid an economic crisis. He qualified that transactions for "humanitarian" purposes would be exempt, as they had been in the past, but cautioned that "banks must be very careful that these are not disguised transactions".

Rouhani said in a the meeting on Monday: "I announce that we will proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions because it's against worldwide regulations".

Meanwhile, in Tehran, demonstrators poured onto the streets to mark the 39 anniversary of the occupation of the USA embassy there, an action that precipitated a protracted hostage standoff that helped tank President Carter's chances at re-election and almost took down the Reagan administration amid the Iran-Contra scandal.

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