European allies uneasy as United States restores Iran sanctions
European allies uneasy as United States restores Iran sanctions
With US sanctions set to begin, where next for Trump's Iran strategy
06 August, 2018, 14:15
Trump decided in May to withdraw from the accord.
He said President Donald Trump is intent on getting Iran to "behave like a normal country".
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed yesterday that the United States would "enforce the sanctions" it is reimposing against Iran after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear pact. "They're the world's largest state sponsor of terror", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Indonesian television in an interview Sunday.
That came only a few days after a bellicose exchange between the two presidents, with Rouhani warning of the "mother of all wars" and Trump responding with a Twitter tirade against Iran's "DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE".
Trump administration officials say the sanctions are being restored starting Monday in an effort to change the Iranian regime's behavior.
Sanctions on trade in Iranian metals and automobiles go back into effect Monday.
Sanctions will also be reapplied to US imports of Iranian carpets and foodstuffs and on certain related financial transactions. Iran acquired five new European commercial planes on Sunday before the sales were cut off.
US sanctions targeting Iranian trade in automobiles, gold and other key metals will be re-imposed on Monday, while sanctions targeting the country's energy and banking sector will resume November 4.
The tensions have already fuelled a run on Iran's currency, which has lost more than half its value since April, and exacerbated widespread concerns over high unemployment, inflation and the lack of reform.
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And John Bolton, the president's national security advisor, is a well-known Iran hawk who has advocated for regime change. United Nations inspectors said Iran was complying with the deal, but Trump felt the agreement did not go far enough.
Sporadic protests broke out in several cities in Iran for a fifth night on Saturday, a day after demonstrators attacked a Shi'ite seminary, according to Iranian news agencies and social media, as Iranians brace for a return of US sanctions.
But many US allies believe that language is code for regime change. Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to brief the media on ongoing negotiations.
A deepening of Iran's economic crisis could also lead to an influx of refugees and migrants into Europe like that seen on the heels of the Syrian conflict.
The dramatic about-face, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly tamped down, came just days after the enigmatic USA president and Rouhani traded barbs. "It will not have the resources to do both", he said in May.
At least for now, the USA is fixated on bringing as much diplomatic and economic pressure to Iran as possible - though it is not clear where things are headed, or if there is an increased risk of conflict.
In this video grab made from a video by Nasim News Agency an Iranian cleric speaks to a crowd of protesters demonstrating in Mashhad on August 3, 2018.
In this July 30, 2018, photo, an Iranian street money exchanger holds a USA banknote in downtown Tehran, Iran.
In May, the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which worldwide sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
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