On Monday, the Trump administration announced that the sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the 2015 nuclear accord will be reimposed starting at midnight.
President Trump stated, “The United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” Trump said in a statement Monday.
Trump added, “The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.”
Trump stated he is still willing to meet with Iran’s leaders, asserting, “As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime, I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism. The United States welcomes the partnership of like-minded nations in these efforts.”
The Washington Post reported that starting at midnight, “Iran will be prohibited from using U.S. dollars, the primary currency or international financial transactions and oil purchases.” The Post added, “U.S. officials have advised governments around the world to begin winding down their purchases of Iranian oil, eventually to zero, to starve Tehran of its chief source of foreign income.”
As The Hill noted, “The sanctions that will come back into effect after midnight target transactions with U.S. dollar banknotes; trade in gold and precious metals; direct or indirect sales of graphite and metals such as steel and aluminum; certain transactions related to the Iranian rial; certain transactions related to issuing Iranian sovereign debt; and Iran’s automotive sector.”
There is a second and even more powerful round of sanctions that may be imposed in early November; those sanctions would include sanctions on oil sales. One senior official pointed out that over 100 companies around the world have announced they will exit doing business with Iran.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani responded to the impending sanctions by blustering, “The Americans thought that they can add to our social and economic problems through increasing pressure.” Rouhani seems to be whistling in the dark; the currency of Iran, the rial, has plunged to record lows, dropping to more than 100,000 to the dollar on the black market this month.