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Sanctions Resume as US Set to Announce New Iran Blacklist

Sanctions Resume as US Set to Announce New Iran Blacklist

Monday, 5 November, 2018 - 07:15
A man walks past an anti-US mural in Tehran, Iran. (Reuters)
Washington - Heba El Koudsy
The United States is set to announce the full list of Iranian entities that are being targeted in the latest round of sanctions that took effect on Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to defend his country’s re-imposition of sanctions amid criticism that they will spark long-term tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Tweeting on the 39th anniversary of the US hostage crisis in Iran, he said: “Their courage & resolve over 444 days in captivity continues to underscore our commitment to compel Iran to permanently abandon its outlaw activities.”

In an earlier tweet, he stressed: “On November 5, we will place tough sanctions on Iran’s ruling regime. Our aim is to compel Iran to abandon its destructive activities. The sanctions will target the regime—not the people, who have suffered the pain of their government’s mismanagement, theft, and brutality.”

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, he added that the sanctions “aimed at a single purpose -- denying the world's largest state sponsor of terror the capacity to do things like the things they've done in the past few weeks.”

In addition, he spoke of waivers being granted to eight countries to allow them to continue to import Iranian oil. The waivers are temporary and these countries “need a little bit more time to get to zero”.

Pompeo maintained that despite the waivers, "these sanctions have already had an enormous impact."

“We've already reduced Iranian crude oil experts by over a million barrels per day. That number
will fall farther,” he added.

He rejected criticism that Donald Trump’s administration was not hard enough on Tehran, saying: “There are a lot of experts that said President Trump's policy wouldn't have any impact because it was just the United States and other countries weren't participating. And, in fact, we have built an enormous coalition to keep this world safe and to deny Iran money.”

“The financial sanctions that are being put in place by the Treasury Department and over 600 designations of individuals and companies in Iran will have the intended effect to alter the Iranian regime's behavior,” he continued.

A number of hawks in the Trump administration, as well as senior Republican officials, have demanded that harsher sanctions be take against Tehran.

Republican senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz of Texas have have drafted legislation that would require the Trump administration to demand that Iran be suspended from the international bank transfer system (SWIFT).

Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis. Its national currency, the rial, now trades at 145,000 to one US dollar, down from when it traded 40,500 to $1 a year ago. The economic chaos sparked mass anti-government protests at the end of last year which resulted in nearly 5,000 reported arrests and at least 25 people being killed. Sporadic demonstrations still continue.

The United States says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its policies, including its support for regional militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.

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