U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he is open to a new comprehensive deal with Iran, saying that till then the toughest-ever sanctions on the West Asian country that kick off on Monday would continue.
The sanctions take effect Monday and cover Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors. However, firms in these countries have backtracked on early agreements to develop Iran because the USA has threatened to impose sanctions on firms trading with the Islamic state. "We have the knowledge and the capability to manage the country's economic affairs", Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state TV.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that President Donald Trump has "disgraced" United States prestige and would be the ultimate loser from renewing sanctions on the Islamic republic.
That process will be completed starting from midnight Sunday, US eastern time, when sanctions on the regime's banks, shippers, shipbuilders and oil sector are imposed.
The US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, also announced that Swift, the private financial messaging service that allows banks to communicate securely, would also be subject to sanctions.
Until now, Iranians and Americans have remembered the date November 4 for only one reason: It was the day in 1979 when a mob of Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 diplomats and other USA citizens hostage.
China and Turkey are two other countries which are expected to be on the list of the Iranian oil buyers.
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Pompeo said the United States will be issuing temporary, six-month waivers for eight jurisdictions that have significantly reduced, though not eliminated, their imports of Iranian oil.
The United Arab Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Saturday that Iran's "aggressive policies" were "largely responsible" for the reimposition of USA sanctions on Tehran.
There will also be sanctions to cut off Tehran's ability to export oil, the country's most crucial foreign exchange earner, though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said eight importers would be given exemptions in exchange for slowing their purchases - a bid to avoid upsetting the global crude market.
"Mogherini and the European ministers ... highlighted the importance of the finance ministers' commitment to Europe's financial mechanism to save the Iran nuclear deal and said the mechanism will be operational in the coming days", IRNA said.
U.S. sanctions against importers of Iranian oil threaten the crude oil market´s precarious balance and risk surging prices, all under Saudi Arabia´s watchful gaze, according to experts.
The post appears to allude to Mr Trump reinstating sanctions against Iran that had been removed under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Countries with close security and trade ties with the USA were quick to cut their purchases - South Korea went nearly straight to zero, with Japan and much of Europe close behind.
Iranian leaders said the sanctions are aimed at toppling the government and have ruled out negotiations with the Trump administration.
The US aims to cripple the Iranian economy to pressure Tehran to halt its nuclear activities and what the US says is broad support for "terrorism" in the region, Pompeo said.