Friday, 17 August, 2018

European companies 'protected' from United States sanctions following Iran nuclear row

Oil Tanker in Iran Crude oil tanker'Devon as it sails through the Persian Gulf
Gerardo Duncan | 07 August, 2018, 15:34

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the new U.S. sanctions on Iran were "the most biting sanctions ever imposed".

Responding to Mr. Trump's comments, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said that Washington's call for new nuclear negotiations at the same time the US reimposes crippling sanctions "makes no sense".

More US sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran", European officials said in a statement on Monday.

The commission says such US sanctions are illegal and refuses to abide by them, noting that it intends to maintain trade and economic relations with Iran as part of the hard-won 2015 deal, signed by the so-called "P5+1" powers - namely the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, UK, China, France and Russia), plus Germany.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said sanctions are an important pillar in US policy toward Iran and will remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

The measures are expected to hit Iran's economy hard, with the country already reeling from high unemployment and inflation.

"We are encouraging small and medium enterprises in particularly to increase business with and in Iran as part of something that is for us a security priority", Mogherini told journalists during a visit to New Zealand.

"By returning to the JCPOA", he said, using the technical name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

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.

President Trump said on Monday the United States was "fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions" and would aim "to ensure complete compliance".

"Consistent with President Trump's decision, the administration will be reimposing specified sanctions after August 6, the final day of the 90-day wind-down period", the White House said.

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

In an early-morning tweet, Trump said the reimposition of sanctions means, "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States".

The "Trump Administration wants the world to believe it's concerned about the Iranian people", Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement posted to Twitter.

"We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, like Trump a long-time opponent of the accord, congratulated him on the new sanctions.

"There will be pressure because of sanctions, but we will overcome this with unity". Behnam Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies said they "signal that the administration is serious in its intent to recreate the leverage that existed between the USA and Iran prior to the nuclear deal".

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