Vice president: Iran launches plan to counter new USA sanctions

Saul Bowman
November 7, 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 global agreement to limit its nuclear program.

President Donald Trump has restored all sanctions, targeting oil exports, shipping and banks, lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal in a bid to pressure Iran.

Pompeo said more than 20 countries have already cut their oil imports from Iran, reducing purchases by more than 1 million barrels per day.

The United States has snapped sanctions back in place to choke off Iran's oil and shipping industry, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

With Japan winning the temporary waivers, the distributors will consider resuming purchases, but the Japanese government and businesses remain concerned about possible oil price increases following the reimposition of the USA sanctions on Iran.

The most significant of the new measures is a prohibition against oil and gas sales, which provide the Iranian Government with 80 per cent of its total revenue.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, demonstrators poured onto the streets to mark the 39 anniversary of the occupation of the USA embassy there, an action that precipitated a protracted hostage standoff that helped tank President Carter's chances at re-election and almost took down the Reagan administration amid the Iran-Contra scandal.

"China opposes unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction", AFP quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying at a regular briefing with reporters on Monday.

He said the USA policy is to levy "maximum economic pressure" on the country.

Oil prices rallied above $85 per barrel in October on fears of a steep decline in Iranian exports.

The president gave companies a specified period to wind down business with Iran - they face punishment from the USA government for failing to do so.

On Monday, worldwide benchmark Brent crude oil futures were up almost 0.8 per cent to US$73.41 a barrel and U.S. crude futures were up 0.4 per cent at US$63.41. Sanctions the Obama administration imposed in 2010 included the Central Bank, effectively cutting off Iran from any USA cash dealings, and the resulting pressure helped bring Iran to the talks that led to the Iran deal.

Earlier today, Trump said that the U.S. sanctions levied today are the strongest ever on the country's shipping, financial and energy sectors.

Schiff said, "The Trump administration's unilateral re-imposition of these sanctions will also accelerate efforts to facilitate transactions through alternative financial channels that are not reachable by the USA sanctions and into which we will have limited visibility".

"We'll see what happens with Iran".

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson on the sanctions on Iran.

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

Iran denied its nuclear program was directed at producing nuclear weapons as it reached the 2015 agreement with the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

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