The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.The sanctions will take effect on November 5 and cover Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors.
It's the second batch of penalties that the administration has reimposed since President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark deal in May.
With limited exceptions, the sanctions will penalize countries that don't stop importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including Iran's central bank, a number of private financial institutions and state-run port and shipping companies. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo said the sanctions are "aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
" He has released a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted. They include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
"Maximum pressure means maximum pressure," he said.
Pompeo said eight nations, which other officials identified as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as long as they end such imports entirely.
He said those countries had made efforts to eliminate their imports but could not complete the task by Monday's deadline.
While the US had previously wanted countries including India to completely halt oil purchases from Iran by November 4 when its full sanctions against Tehran come into force, it seems to have relented considering the havoc the move to completely take out Iranian supplies from the market would have had on prices.
India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, is willing to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources in New Delhi said.
Pompeo said, the US is to issue temporary exemption to eight "jurisdictions" from Iranian sanctions recognising their significant reduction in imports of oil from Iran. The names of the jurisdictions would be released on November 5.
The US will allow the eight nations to import Iranian oil but only at much lower levels after the reimposition of sanctions on November 5, Pompeo said.
The US will also demand the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) global financial network stop supporting Iranian banks as part of enforcing sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme and alleged support for terrorism.
The sanctions will penalise countries that do not end importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian firms.
Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin made the announcement on November 2. They said sanctions will remain until Iran meets demands that include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile programme.
In May, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as disastrous". Under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, Iran agreed to stop its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
After the US' withdrawal from the deal, Trump signed fresh sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran over its controversial nuclear weapons programme.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions lists under the reimposed sanctions. Iran hard-liners in Congress and elsewhere probably will be disappointed in the sanctions because they were pushing for no oil import waivers as well as the complete disconnection of Iran from the main international financial messaging network known as SWIFT.
Mnuchin defended the move to allow some Iranian banks to remain connected to SWIFT, saying that the Belgium-based firm had been warned that it will face penalties if sanctioned institutions are permitted to use it. Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.