Donald Trump reimposes sanctions on Iran, but says US open to 'more comprehensive' nuclear deal

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Monday reimposed sanctions on Iran, which were lifted as part of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, but said he remains open to forging a new "more comprehensive" deal with the Islamic Republic.

In May, Trump had announced that the US was withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal. The reimposition of sanctions on Iran will have major impact on countries like India, with which it has traditional and historic trade relationship.

"Today, the US is taking action to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions with respect to Iran that were lifted in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 (the JCPOA)," Trump said.

 Donald Trump reimposes sanctions on Iran, but says US open to more comprehensive nuclear deal

File image of Doanld Trump. AP

These actions include reimposing sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and on its trade in gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions related to the Iranian rial. These measures will take effect on 7 August.

"All remaining US nuclear-related sanctions will resume effective 5 November, 2018. These include sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector, including petroleum-related transactions, as well as transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran," said the US president.

At the same time, Trump said he remains open to reaching a "more comprehensive deal" that addresses the full range of the Iranian regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism. "The US welcomes the partnership of like-minded nations in these efforts," he added.

Reiterating that the US is fully committed to enforcing all of its sanctions, and will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance, Trump warned that individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.

Trump said that many international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market, and several countries have indicated that they will reduce or end imports of Iranian crude oil. "We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation," he said.

Beginning Tuesday, sanctions will be reimposed on purchase or acquisition of US bank notes by Iran; transactions related to the Iranian rial, activities relating to Iran's issuance of sovereign debt and Iran's automotive sector. Sanctions will also be reimposed on Iran's trade in gold and other precious metals and graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes, the White House said today.

However, the remaining sanctions will be reimposed on 5 November, including sanctions on Iran's port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors; Iran's petroleum-related transactions and transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

The Trump administration will also relist hundreds of individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft that were previously included on sanctions lists, the White House said.

By doing so, the administration is implementing the decision made by President Trump in May when he ended US participation in the JCPOA.

Describing the JCPOA as "a horrible, one-sided deal", Trump said that it failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it "threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos."

"Since the deal was reached, Iran's aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond," he said.

"To this day, Iran threatens the United States and our allies, undermines the international financial system, and supports terrorism and militant proxies around the world," he alleged.

By exiting the JCPOA, the US is able to protect its national security by applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime, he said, adding that so far his administration has issued 17 rounds of Iran-related sanctions, designating 145 companies and individuals.

Since Trump's announcement on 8 May withdrawing the US from the JCPOA, his administration has sanctioned 38 Iran-related targets in six separate actions.

"Reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions through today's actions further intensifies pressure on Tehran to change its conduct," he added.

Alleging that Iran is currently witnessing civil unrest and economic woes, a senior Trump administration official told reporters that the president has been very clear: none of this needs to happen.

"He will meet with Iranian leadership at anytime to discuss a real, comprehensive deal that will contain their regional ambitions, will end their malign behaviour and deny them any paths to a nuclear weapon," the official said.

The White House said Trump will continue to stand up to the Iranian regime's aggression, and the US will fully enforce the reimposed sanctions.

According to the official, Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal upheld his highest obligation: to protect the safety and security of the American people.

The administration is working with its allies to bring pressure on the Iranian regime to achieve an agreement that denies all paths to a nuclear weapon and addresses other malign activities, he added.

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Updated Date: Aug 07, 2018 00:17:18 IST