The U.S. has officially imposed what the Trump administration describes as the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran, meant to curb Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and contain its growing influence in the Middle East.
The move by the White House re-imposes U.S. sanctions that were lifted as part of a 2015 multinational deal with Tehran and impose hundreds of additional sanctions designed to hit Iran’s key economic sectors — including oil and gas, shipping and banking.
The move is “aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week. “Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country.”
As NPR’s Colin Dwyer reported recently, “Since May, when President Trump vowed to unilaterally pull the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, his administration has telegraphed its intentions to restore the sanctions that had been lifted as part of the pact. The administration already leveled one major round of sanctions in August; now, it is restoring the complete set of sanctions — and even adding hundreds of names to the list, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.”
“Details of the sanctions will be released at a news conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and … Mnuchin.
China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey — all top importers of Iranian oil — are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized.
The countries will deposit Iran’s revenue in an escrow account, U.S. officials have said.”
Meanwhile, in Tehran, demonstrators poured onto the streets to mark the 39th anniversary of the occupation of the U.S. embassy there, an action that precipitated a protracted hostage standoff that helped tank President Carter’s chances at re-election and nearly took down the Reagan administration amid the Iran-Contra scandal.
Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the former U.S. Embassy, burning American flags and chanting “Death to America!”