US reimposes sanctions on Iran, eyes second round in November

US reimposes sanctions on Iran, eyes second round in November

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President Donald Trump announces in May that he will not reauthorize the Iran deal. (WhiteHouse.gov)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will be reinstating a series of sanctions against Iran that were previously lifted as part of the 2015 Iran deal, a move that precedes a second round in November.

The reimposed sanctions will be carried out in two tiers. The first, scheduled to go in place on Tuesday, will largely target trade, with the White House specifically citing:

  • The purchase or acquisition of United States bank notes by the government of Iran
  • Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals
  • Graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes
  • Transactions related to the Iranian rial
  • Activities relating to Iran’s issuance of sovereign debt
  • Iran’s automotive sector

Additional sanctions will be reimposed on Nov. 4 in an effort to target Iran’s petroleum interests.

Senior administration officials told reporters during an on-background conference call Monday that the sanctions can be prevented if Iranian leaders strike a new deal with President Donald Trump that includes a guarantee to rein in their behavior.

“None of this needs to happen,” an official said. “He will meet with the Iranian leadership any time to discuss a real comprehensive deal that will contain their regional ambitions, will end their malign behavior and deny them any path to a nuclear weapon.”

The officials noted that the stated U.S. policy is not a regime change, but rather a change in Iranian leadership’s behavior.

The reimposition of sanctions follows Trump’s announcement in May to withdraw the U.S. from the Joint Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the “Iran deal.” The Obama-era agreement traded eased sanctions for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

In response, Iran said it would increase its levels of uranium enrichment, a move that Trump warned would be met with harsh resistance from the U.S.

Last month, Trump issued a fiery tweet warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that his country will “suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before” if he threatens the U.S.

Last week Trump proclaimed that he is willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions.

Monday’s steps to roll back the Iran deal sets the U.S. up for a potential clash with the European Union, which has emphasized that they will restrict European companies from pulling out of Iran without their approval.

A senior administration official said Monday that this is not something the U.S. is concerned about.

European foreign ministers said Monday that they “deeply regret” the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, Germany and France said in a statement that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear program, and called the deal “crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world.”

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