LONDON: Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order reimposing a raft of economic sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear program. The US president said earlier this year he would pull his country out of the 2015 deal, which curbed Iran’s ability to enrich uraniam to certain levels in exchange for an end to crippling sanctions.
He said the reintroduction of the sanctions were designed to levy “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran. However, Trump also said he remains open to forging a new nuclear deal with Iran.
“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,” Trump said.
A first phase of the sanctions against Iran goes into effect overnight. The move hits Iran at a time when its economy is in crisis with the rial currency losing half its value since April. Protests have also taken place across the country as Iranians grow increasingly angry over the state of the country’s finances and corruption.
The sanctions would target Iranian purchases of US dollars, metals trading and other dealings, coal, industrial-related software and its auto sector.
Trump is aiming to cut off the Iranian leadership’s access to resources, US administration officials told Reuters. The sanctions aim to modify Iran’s behavior and not bring about a “regime change” targeting President Hassan Rouhani, the officials said. The United States also plans to re-introduce potentially more damaging sanctions on Iranian oil in November.
The European Union, which remains committed to the deal voiced regret on Monday at the looming sanctions. Trump warned on Monday of “severe consequences” for people or entities that fail to wind down economic activities with Iran. “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,” he said.
If Iran wants to avoid the re imposition of sanctions it should take up Trump’s offer to negotiate, White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday. “They could take up the president’s offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory,” he told Fox News.