The United States has announced the snap back of restrictions on Iran, which had been lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal, threatening ‘severe consequences’ for those who fail to wind down activities with Tehran.

The development follows President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the US signed under former President Barack Obama alongside China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany and the EU.

The US said its decision to terminate the deal is based on its assessment of Iran’s “dictatorship, terrorism and aggression.”

“The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” a White House statement said.

Iran rejects negotiations

A top Trump adviser reportedly urged Iran to engage in talks with the US or face ‘more pain’ from economic sanctions, a notion Tehran has rebuffed.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, quoted in an interview on his official website, said: “If somebody puts a knife in its opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate; the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table”.

“I believe that their want to wage a psychological war and create scepticism in the Iranian people to be able to use it in the coming Congress elections. So, Trump’s remarks are aimed at taking advantage of them in Congress elections”.

His website also stated that: “The main goal of Trump by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was to incite Iran to do the same.

“Today when the US restored the first round of sanctions, Europe expressed decisive support of companies working with Iran. Today, Iran is a country trusted around the world.”

Restrictions outlined

According to the White House, the US will be reimposing specified sanctions after August 6, the final day of the 90-day wind-down period.

On August 7, sanctions will be reimposed on a number of items and services:

o The purchase or acquisition of United States bank notes by the Government of Iran.

o Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals.

o Graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes.

o Transactions related to the Iranian rial.

o Activities relating to Iran’s issuance of sovereign debt

o Iran’s automotive sector.

The remaining sanctions will be reimposed on November 5, including sanctions on:

o Iran’s port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors.

o Iran’s petroleum-related transactions.

o Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

o The Trump Administration will also relist hundreds of individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft that
were previously included on sanctions lists.

– Irene Madongo