U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Monday that firms doing business with Tehran would be barred from the United States as new U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect in spite of pleas from Washington's allies.
The newly reimposed sanctions target transactions with USA dollar banknotes; trade in gold and precious metals; direct or indirect sales of graphite and metals such as steel and aluminum; certain transactions related to the Iranian rial; certain transactions related to issuing Iranian sovereign debt; and Iran's automotive sector. Perhaps seeking to head off more unrest, Iran announced steps this week to make it easier to access foreign currency, and said it was prosecuting an ex-central bank official for economic crimes.
The Trump administration moved to restore some U.S. sanctions on Iran and reaffirmed plans to impose tougher penalties on the country's oil sales in November, as President Hassan Rouhani comes under increasing economic and political pressure to address the crisis.
Trump government officials blame the nuclear deal signed under former president Barack Obama for providing the revenue for Iran to fund its regional activities. European allies said they "deeply regret" the USA action.
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He said Iran had "always welcomed negotiations" but that Washington would first have to demonstrate it can be trusted.
USA officials said that more than 100 worldwide firms have already agreed to leave the Iranian market.
Whether to comply with USA sanctions or keep doing business in Iran is a "purely economic decision", one senior official argued.
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The renewed sanctions target the trade of automobiles, coal, gold and other metals, as well as Iranian purchases of USA dollars. Iranian authorities have yet to comment on them and several officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment.
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He said Iran's leaders may need to "drink the poison cup" and negotiate with the US.
"Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting global agreements and a matter of worldwide security".
European enterprises can either comply with U.S. sanctions and face consequences in Europe for violating the "blocking statute" or keep doing business in Iran and face United States sanctions.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that Iran can still rely on China and Russian Federation to keep its oil and banking sectors afloat.
Iran's central bank, acting on the eve of the United States move, scrapped most currency controls introduced this year in a bid to halt a plunge in the rial that has stirred protests against the government. "But if the government has a serious plan they can control the situation".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the renewed sanctions as "an important moment for Israel, for the USA, for the region, for the whole world".
The European Union has also spoken out against the sanctions, vowing to protect firms doing "legitimate business".
"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas", the joint statement between the European Union and the E3 highlighted.