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07 August 2018, 12:48 | Vera Richards
U.S. revives sanctions to hurt Iran economy
President Donald Trump's top security adviser on Monday urged Iran to take up an offer of talks with the United States or suffer more pain from economic sanctions, but Iran's president said Washington needed first to prove it can be trusted.
Iran under the new sanctions is barred from purchasing or acquiring US dollars and limited in what it can do with its own currency, the rial, outside of Iranian territory, making it exceptionally hard for Tehran to conduct business.
The United States has also been pushing its allies to halt their import of Iranian oil ahead of the November deadline.
Trump poured scorn on the "disastrous" 2015 accord in an address to the nation from the White House in May announcing the withdrawal, describing the agreement as an "embarrassment" to the U.S. that does nothing to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. "They are imposing sanctions on Iranian children, patients and the nation", the president said.
In exchange, United Nations-approved sanctions were lifted in January 2016, and Iran was allowed to resume trading oil and gas on the global market.
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Later in the year, the U.S. will also reimpose sanctions on Iran's oil and energy exports and transactions with the central bank.
Despite the USA move to restore the sanctions, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed in Alaska late Sunday, the Europeans said they would continue to work with Iran to preserve the deal.
Starting this week, Washington will reimpose sanctions on Iran's purchases of USA dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its dealings with metals, coal and industrial-related software.
Trump warned that those that don't wind down their ties to the Iranian economy "risk severe consequences" under the reimposed sanctions.
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By doing so, the administration is implementing the decision made by President Trump in May when he ended United States participation in the JCPOA.
Mr Trump called the multilateral Iran accord a "horrible, one-sided deal". We expect Iran to continue to fully implement all its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. "The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond", he said. In May, Trump included Seif on the list of designated terrorists for his alleged financial support for Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah.
Iran will ease foreign exchange rules, state TV reported on Sunday, in a bid to halt a collapse of the rial currency, which has lost half its value since April due to fears about the return of USA sanctions.
He said Iran had "always welcomed negotiations" but that Washington would first have to demonstrate it can be trusted.
What sanctions are being reimposed?
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"This is completely consistent with what the president has done with other less friendly regimes ... to keep the maximum pressure until our goals are achieved", a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call. "He will meet with the Iranian leadership at 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".
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