Iran: under old new sanctions

Iran: under old new sanctions

The United States unleashed its "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran today (08:00 MSK). The Trump administration reinstated all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it.

More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft are now on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said more than 100 big international companies had withdrawn from Iran because of the looming sanctions. He also said Iranian oil exports had dropped by nearly one million barrels a day, choking the main source of funding for the country, BBC reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in turn, has vowed to sell oil and break the sanctions.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on his Twitter page that the "Iranian nation used to import everything for years, now it has developed a habit of producing everything."

Washington re-imposed the sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump in May pulled out of a 2015 accord aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Washington also says it wants to stop what it calls Tehran's "malign" activities including cyber attacks, ballistic missile tests, and support for violent extremist groups and militias in the Middle East.

The UK, Germany and France - which are among the five countries still committed to the nuclear pact - have all objected to the sanctions. They have promised to support European firms that do "legitimate business" with Iran and have set up an alternative payment mechanism - or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) - that will help companies trade without facing US penalties.

The Trump administration has granted exemptions to eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, without naming them. They are reported to include US allies Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, along with Turkey, China and India.

Pompeo said the countries had already made "significant reductions in their crude oil exports" but needed "a little bit more time to get to zero". He said two would eventually stop imports and the other six would greatly reduce them.

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