US officials confirm the return of sanctions against Iran

On Monday the United States will reinstate all the sanctions against Iran that were lifted in the wake of the 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday.

The penalties in question provide for the imposition of penalties on any foreign state or enterprise that continues to do business with private and public Iranian companies in the US blacklisted financial, energy and freight sectors.

Some 700 people or entities have been added to this list, said Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. This includes Iran’s central bank, a number of private financial institutions, ports and transport companies.

This is the second installment of sanctions to be reinstated since US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last May. Some sanctions were reinstated 90 days after the withdrawal , and others were due after 180 days, next Monday.

Eight countries, however, will benefit from exemptions and will be allowed to continue importing Iranian oil for a limited time, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These are states that have tried to eliminate these imports, but have simply failed to do so in time, he said.

These states are to be identified on Monday, but Associated Press sources say Italy, India, Japan and South Korea are in the mix. Turkey also claims to have been exempted.

The United States will also cut some Iranian financial institutions hit by sanctions from the international Swift banking circuit, Mnuchin said. Others, however, will remain tied to this system, against the advice of some hawks in the US Congress who did not want any exemption.

Messrs. Pompeo and Mnuchin both claimed that exemptions were provided for “humanitarian transactions”.

Purpose: to change the behavior of Iran
According to Mr. Pompeo, the return of sanctions aims “to profoundly change the behavior” of the Islamic Republic. He has also published a list of 12 requests that Tehran must answer if it wants to lift them.

These demands include the end of Iran’s support for activities considered to be terrorist, the end of their military engagement in Syria and the complete cessation of all nuclear and ballistic missile development activities.

This part of the process is meant to deprive the regime of the revenues it uses to spread death and destruction around the world. […] Our ultimate goal is to force Iran to permanently abandon its documented irregular activities and to act as a “normal” country.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

The announcement of the return of these sanctions was greeted with a defiant attitude in Tehran. “The United States will not be able to take action against our great and brave country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state television. “We have the knowledge and skills to manage the country’s economic affairs. ”

The withdrawal of the United States from the Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015 has been decried by the other signatories, namely France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Russia .

They all noted Iran’s compliance with the commitments made under the agreement, as the International Atomic Energy Agency regularly confirms.

Strong regrets on the European side

In a joint statement issued shortly thereafter, the European Union (EU), France, Germany and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their determination to pursue the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. They say “deeply regret” the reinstatement of sanctions.

“The JCPOA [Acronym for the English name of the agreement, Ed] is a major element of the global architecture of nuclear non-proliferation and multilateral diplomacy, unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 2231. It is essential for the security of Europe, the region and the world, “they say.

“We aim to protect European economic actors who are engaged in legitimate trade with Iran, in accordance with European legislation and UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” they continue.

We remain committed to the implementation of the JCPOA, in connection with respect for international agreements and our common international security, and we expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard.

Extract from the joint declaration of the EU, France, the United Kingdom and Germany
The statement is signed by EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, French Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Heiko Maas and British Jeremy Hunt, and French Finance Ministers Bruno Le Maire, German Olaf Scholz and British Philip Hammond.

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