Politics & Policy

Iran Vows to Defy Reimposed U.S. Oil, Financial Sanctions

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani listens during a news conference in New York, September 26, 2018. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has vowed that his country will defy sanctions reimposed on Monday by the U.S. after the Trump administration scrapped the nuclear deal struck by President Obama earlier this year.

“We will proudly break the sanctions,” Rouhani said Monday, calling them “unfair” and “against the law, U.N. resolutions, and international accords.”

The new sanctions were lifted under the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal, which was also signed by the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia. The deal gave Tehran billions of dollars in relief from sanctions in exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear program.

President Trump pulled out of the deal in May, allowing two periods of 9o and 180 days to let companies phase out their business with Iran.

After the first period, which ended in August, the U.S. reimposed sanctions affecting transactions with U.S. dollar banknotes and trade in gold and precious metals, graphite, and cars. On Monday, the administration reimposed the second batch of sanctions, affecting the energy, shipping, shipbuilding, and financial sectors, including 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries and the country’s airline, Iran Air.

The U.S. has granted temporary exemptions from these latter sanctions to eight countries that purchase Iranian oil: China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea. More than 20 other countries have already canceled their oil business with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“The Islamic Republic can sell its oil, and even if these eight countries weren’t exempted, we would have still sold our oil,” Rouhani claimed. “Isn’t that success?”

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the sanctions “bullying” that is “backfiring” by making Washington more isolated.

Pompeo said Sunday that he is “very confident” the sanctions “will have the intended effect: to alter the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

“That’s our expectation. It’s the reason for President Trump’s policy,” he said.

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