Snaps back Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to India, seven others

Snaps back Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to India, seven others

The United States has banned nearly all direct US dealings with Iran for decades.

The US says the sanctions, which US Secretary of Pompeo billed as the "toughest sanctions ever", are aimed at persuading Iran to "alter" its behavior, including its support for regional terrorist groups like the Hezbollah and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.

President Donald Trump announced in May he was withdrawing the United States from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, which lifted wide-ranging sanctions on the Iranian economy.

The remaining members believe the agreement is working as intended and is keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

Early on Monday the United States imposed its "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran that it had earlier lifted after the signing of the nuclear agreement in July, 2015 between Tehran and Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany and the US.

In a sweeping list, the Treasury Department labeled an additional 700 entities, including individuals, banks, vessels, aircraft and Iran's energy sector as part of its decision to reapply harsh sanctions that kicked in early Monday morning. We're going to do everything we can to squeeze Iran hard.

Washington has agreed to let eight countries keep buying Iranian oil.

Tehran has claimed a diplomatic victory against the United States with Europe still pressing hard to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal and taking steps to establish a payments channel to bypass the sanctions. Iranian revolutionary activists held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days. "Therefore, we will proudly break the sanctions". They include some of Iran's top oil customers - China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Iran's health sector is concerned about the impact of the sanctions, for example lives will be at risk when the country's supply of medicine runs out due to the sanctions.

"(We explained to the USA that) if South Korean firms are hit due to the sanctions against Iran, it would pose a problem to the nation's economy", said an official from the Foreign Ministry on condition of anonymity. "We continue to fully support expanding our trade relationship with Iran and encourage United Kingdom businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that arise". "We are prepared to resist any pressure", Rouhani said.

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The US advised SWIFT, the global messaging network that connects the world's financial institutions, to cut off its service for designated Iranian financial institutions.

But President Donald Trump announced last May that the USA would withdraw from the agreement.

China is a signatory to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - which includes Britain, France, Germany and Russian Federation - that Trump pulled out from earlier this year. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pompeo had discussed the issue of oil imports from Iran.

On the supply-side, oil is in ample availability despite the sanctions against Iran.

Brent oil prices nearly remained unchanged and continue to trade in a range between $72 and $73 per barrel following the U.S.' re-imposition of sanctions on Iran's oil sector on Monday.

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. WTI saw prices of $62.89.

"Our ultimate goal is to convince the regime to abandon its current revolutionary course", Pompeo said announcing the sanctions on Monday.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said even without the waivers Iran would still be able to sell its oil, semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

The curbs come as the United States is focused on USA congressional and gubernatorial elections on Tuesday.

Iran said it would continue to sell oil overseas.

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