Trump warns countries against doing business with Iran
US reimposes tough, unilateral sanctions against Iran
Washington, Aug 7: US President Donald Trump today said that sanctions reimposed on Iran were the "most biting ever" as he warned other countries from doing business with Tehran.
"The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level," he wrote in an early morning tweet.
"Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less."
The sanctions reimposed on Tuesday -- targeting access to US banknotes and key industries such as cars and carpets -- were unlikely to cause immediate economic turmoil.
Iran's markets were actually relatively buoyant, with the rial strengthening by 20 percent since Sunday after the government relaxed foreign exchange rules and allowed unlimited, tax-free gold and currency imports.
But a second tranche coming into effect on November 5 covering Iran's vital oil sector, could be far more damaging -- even if several key customers such as China, India and Turkey have refused to significantly cut their purchases.
The unilateral withdrawal came despite other parties to the agreement -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the EU -- pleading with Trump not to abandon the pact aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The first of two rounds of US sanctions kicked in at 12:01 am (0431 GMT), targeting Iran's access to US banknotes and key industries, including cars and carpets.
Trump's contempt for the nuclear deal dates back to his time as presidential candidate and on May 8, he made good on a pledge to pull America out of the international agreement.
He blasted the agreement yet again yesterday, calling it a "horrible, one-sided deal (that) failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb."
In an executive order yesterday, Trump said the sanctions seek to pile financial pressure on Tehran to force a "comprehensive and lasting solution" to Iranian threats, including its development of missiles and regional "malign" activities.
The European Union's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc, as well as Britain, France and Germany, deeply regretted Washington's move.
"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran," she said in a statement.
Many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of US penalties, and Trump warned of "severe consequences" against firms and individuals that continued to do business with Iran.
The impact of the return of sanctions has ramped up tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system.
Severe reporting restrictions have made it impossible to verify the swirl of claims coming through social media.
Trump said he was open to reaching a more comprehensive deal with Iran "that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism."
But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was unimpressed by the offer.
"If you're an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife, and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife," the Iranian leader said in an interview on state television.
"They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation," Rouhani said.
"Negotiations with sanctions doesn't make sense." John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, noted that the US sees the sanctions "as a tool to pressure Iran to come back to the negotiating table to rehash the nuclear deal on terms more to Trump's liking. That is not going to happen."
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters the global reaction to Trump's move showed that the US was diplomatically "isolated," but acknowledged the sanctions "may cause some disruption."
Rouhani's government has taken emergency measures to stem the collapse of the rial ahead of the return of sanctions.