USA drops the sanctions hammer on Iran ... again

USA drops the sanctions hammer on Iran ... again

On Friday, the Trump administration announced the restoration of sanctions on Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors, the second batch of penalties to be restored. They are reported to include United States allies India, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Iranians have taken to the streets chanting "Death to America" to protest the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on oil exports, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the United States embassy takeover during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In his statement, Mr. Trump called on the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its "destructive behaviour", respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table.

World oil markets were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions.

But oil imports from Iran had started declining in FY18 to 22.6 million tonnes from 27.2 million tonnes in FY17. But the sword has two edges: Iran is also the OPEC cartel's third-largest producer.

Several of the students later regretted the incident, but for the establishment it has become a powerful symbol of Iran's refusal to be dominated by outside powers, the key driving force of the revolution.

They aim to significantly reduce Iran's oil exports - which have already fallen by around one million barrels a day since May - and cut it off from global finance.

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized. "Watch as we've already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in previous history", he told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

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"Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office", Trump said.

It is 39 years since 52 American citizens were taken hostage and held for 444 days after hardline students stormed the USA embassy.

"Today the Iranian nation will show that Mr. Trump is too small to be able to bring Iran to its knees", said Ali Larijani, Iran's parliament speaker.

His decision was widely criticized overseas and by Democrats at home, who said that while imperfect, the pact had placed the Iranian nuclear program under the tightest scrutiny ever.

Wallace attempted to press Pompeo on the alleged Swift exemptions, to which the Secretary of State said: "The Iranian banks that engage in sanctionable behavior will be sanctioned by the Department of Treasury, period, full stop".

European countries which are still party to the accord created to curb Iran's nuclear activity say they will help businesses bypass the sanctions.

It also said the lifting of sanctions allowed Iran to finance militant groups and its own military activity.

Iranian state media said millions turned out in towns and cities, swearing allegiance to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, although the BBC was unable to independently verify this figure. But satellites have continued to track them.