Trump Moves to Impose New Economic Sanctions on Iran

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The Trump administration on Monday moved to put back in place the first round of economic sanctions on Iran that had been suspended under the 2015 nuclear agreement.

By taking this action the Trump administration has set itself apart from every other country in the Western alliance and all other parties to the original agreement. The president’s goal — which he may achieve — is to threaten the very existence of the historic Iran nuclear accord that promised to bring stability to the Middle East.

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Officials involved in the process indicated that the sanctions on Iran will be put back in place officially on Tuesday morning at one minute past midnight. These economic and trade sanctions have been waived for the past two and a half years since the date the deal went into effect.

From now on Iran will not be able to use U.S. dollars in any capacity, which is a hardship, given that the dollar is the primary currency used for international financial transactions and oil purchases.

In addition to that, sales and purchases in metals and sales of Iranian-made cars will be prohibited. There will also be a revocation of all permits that have been allowing the import of Iranian carpets and food, such as pistachios.

Also revoked will be licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U.S. and European aircraft and parts. This is especially important given the fact that Iran is in the process of purchasing five new commercial airliners from Europe.

President Trump said in a statement that those who don’t comply with the newly imposed sanctions will face “severe consequences.”

Senior administration officials held a conference call with reporters and said the Trump administration has two goals:

  1. to “prod Iran to renegotiate the nuclear agreement so it also addresses Iran’s ballistic missile tests and adventuresome activities in the region” and
  2. to “change the government’s behavior.”

“The president has been very clear,” one official said. “None of this needs to happen . . . The Iranian people should not suffer because of their regime’s hegemonic ambitions.”

In his statement, Trump slammed the “horrible” agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and declared himself “open” to a new deal to replace the one officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, 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,” the president said.

He then added:

“As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime, I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism. The United States welcomes the partnership of like-minded nations in these efforts.”

Trump has hinted that he would like a new government to replace the current theocratic rulers of Iran, but has stopped short of calling directly for a change of regime.