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Lamont: US sanctions aimed at regime change in Iran

07 November 2018

The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran's oil industry and financial sector Monday, following through on President Donald Trump's pledge to roll back relief Iran received as part of the worldwide agreement to limit its nuclear program.

Of those added, more than 300 are new designations and the remainder won sanctions relief under the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew the United States in May. Trump administration officials have said eight entities are being given short-term waivers to allow them time to completely wind down their existing Iranian oil imports.

Countries that continue to import Iranian oil and do not have a United States waiver risk U.S. sanctions forbidding Americans from doing business with their companies and cutting off access to the USA financial system.

Mr. Trump called the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran the "worst ever" agreement stuck by the U.S. But the other parties to the deal - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - stuck with it. The more significant sanctions that will affect oil exports, are expected on 5 November.

After Monday's drop in prices by 0.5 percent for Brent crude and 0.6 percent for the West Texas Intermediate (WTI), it rose again soon after the United States press conference to announce the details of the second package of sanctions against Iran.

To keep the deal alive, the remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal are trying to maintain trade with Tehran despite scepticism this is possible despite US sanctions to choke off Iranian oil sales.

The U.S. retains the flexibility to tighten sanctions further in coming months, but Monday's measures will deprive the rulers in Tehran of more cash for their foreign adventures. "True, there can be more bumps along the way, but we must approach this very aggressively and from strength. also morally, economically and vis-à-vis security". "I don't want to lift oil prices".

In addition to Iran's oil sector the USA measures target the country's shipping, shipbuilding and banking sectors.

Global benchmark Brent crude traded at $72.85 per barrel on Monday at opening, showing an increase of 0.43 percent from the daily average of $73.17 per barrel.

USA sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals, but measures imposed on banks and trade restrictions could make such items more expensive.

The measures are part of a wider effort by US President Donald Trump to curb Tehran's missile and nuclear programmes and diminish the Islamic Republic's influence in the Middle East, notably its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. "It will be gradual", the USA president said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in a call with reporters that the administration will grant waivers to eight "jurisdictions" when it reimposes oil and gas sanctions.

However, Iran's clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.

In May, Trump exited Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and Washington reimposed first round of sanctions on Iran in August.

Japan had sought a waiver during negotiations with the U.S., saying that its imports of Iranian oil had been falling recently.

Lamont: US sanctions aimed at regime change in Iran