Iran calls new USA sanctions bluff

Jay Anderson
May 19, 2017

Although oil sales have rebounded since the deal came into effect in January previous year, Iran's continued exclusion from the global banking system has prevented it from signing much-needed trade and investment deals with Europe and Asia.

Washington has labeled Iran as a "state sponsor of terrorism" and accuses it of sowing instability in the region through its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war.

In a statement, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it has "designated two senior Iranian defense officials, including a defense official who facilitated the sale of explosives and provided other support to Syria and the director of the organization responsible for Iran's solid-fueled ballistic missile program" as targets for sanctions.

Their assets in the USA have been frozen and Americans are barred from doing business with them.

The reviewing whether to continue honoring what President Donald Trump has called "the frightful Iran deal".

The decision came just before a Friday presidential election in Iran, in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani is fighting for a second term against hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West.

Separately, the State Department said it might add new sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses, which also are not covered under the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The move means that sanctions preventing any USA companies selling to or dealing with Iran will remain suspended for the time being.

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On Wednesday night he said: "the USA is not pursuing efforts to reduce Iran's sales of crude oil at this time". "And they were also at the table and they still support the deal".

Why doesn't the Trump administration reveal the secret protocols, side deals, and unpublicized details of the agreement?

That appeared to be an effort to mollify Republican critics of the deal, which President Trump has called a "disaster" and said he would have negotiated far more skillfully. It's apparent that the Iranians have interpreted parts of the deal that differ from our understanding.

Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state", the USA president said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups.

The Trump administration has said that it is continuing to study the Iran nuclear deal, leaving a door open to leaving it at some point. Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, the USA lifted those sanctions. In a matter of a couple of months, Iran could have a workable bomb.

The administration of President Trump chose to continue waiving nuclear-related sanctions on Wednesday despite its criticism of the agreement.

Washington nevertheless maintained a stern tone, imposing new measures to punish Iranian defense officials and a Chinese business tied to Tehran's banned missile program.

Trump's predecessor Barack Obama renewed the waivers days before he left the White House in January.

Other reports by BadHub

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