Pompeo vows to enforce 'maximum pressure' sanctions

Jermaine Castillo
August 7, 2018

Pompeo told reporters on his way home from a three-nation trip to South East Asia that the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but adds that would "require enormous change" from Tehran.

Trump warned that those that don't wind down their ties to the Iranian economy "risk severe consequences" under the reimposed sanctions.

At 12:01 AM Tuesday morning, the first wave of US sanctions suspended under the Iran nuclear deal will snap back into place, as the Trump administration tries to ramp up the economic pressure on Iran.

In a televised address, Rouhani said there could be no talks as long as Washington was reneging on the deal.

Pompeo said the intensified pressure on Tehran was created to "push back against Iranian malign activity". "I don't have pre-conditions".

Rouhani expressed concern that Trump has backed out of previous dialogue and negotiations with Iran.

"We are always in favor of diplomacy and talks", Rouhani said, according to Reuters.

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He said Iran is the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism, and that Mr. Trump is intent on getting them to "behave like a normal country". "The US owes the Iranian nation for its intervention in Iran".

The sanctions clock started ticking in May when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the multilateral agreement that eased sanctions pressure on the third-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in exchange for commitments to scale back its nuclear ambitions.

Under the breakthrough deal in Vienna, the Iranian government agreed to cut down its uranium stockpile and scale back its enrichment programme far below the level required to build a nuclear weapon. Administration officials say Iran has used funds freed up by the pact to sow instability across the Mideast. 73 yrs later - w/ vastly expanded nuke arsenal it refuses to dismantle in defiance of NPT commitment - USA militarism hasn't faded.

Iran "has treated its people very poorly, and that's led to terror".

"Perhaps that will be the path the Iranians choose to go down", he said. "USA hypocrisy knows no bounds".

But "all of this unhappiness, all of the economic difficulties related to the devaluation, has taken place before the sanctions had been reimposed", said Ross.

The UK, France and Germany - which were also parties to the 2015 accord along with Russian Federation and China - have expressed "deep regret" at the U.S. move. "It means that sanctions that are discretionary may never be applied", one senior European Union official said, adding that firms have rarely been fined under United States secondary sanctions in the past.

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

Iran said the United States was "isolated" in its hostility to the Islamic republic on Monday, as it braced for the return of sanctions against a backdrop of political turmoil inside the country. "We will use them aggressively".

"In November, when oil sales are affected, we will have a clearer view of the impact on daily lives".

Pompeo, who was en route to Washington after attending a summit in Singapore, said the White House would detail the sanctions in an announcement scheduled for August 6, although he did not immediately disclose the time.

"We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States, due to the latter's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)", the statement said, referring to Trump's decision in May.

According to the release, Monday is the final day of a 90-day "wind-down period" since Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the deal.

Starting this week, Washington will reimpose sanctions on Iran's purchases of US dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its dealings with metals, coal and industrial-related software.

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"The next 90 days will see increased economic pressure", an official said. These actions include reimposing sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and on its trade in gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions related to the Iranian currency. The bank also gave the green light for Iranian "legal institutions and businesses" to bring gold and foreign currency into Iran, according to the governor, Abdolnasser Hemmati.

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