Economy

Iranians rally to mark anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover

Iranians rally to mark anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover

USA 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 move has raised tensions in the Middle East as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold. However, Mr. Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, the President's national security adviser, both have made public statements supporting overthrowing Iran's theocratic government.

Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis, and has seen sporadic protests in recent months as Iranian officials have tried to downplay the sanctions and their effects.

The US began re-imposing sanctions on Tehran after President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program in May, branding the deal "defective at its core".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Iranian crude exports are already down by 1 million barrels a day. Trump announced the U.S.'s withdrawal from what he described as "the terrible, one-sided" nuclear deal.

However, analysts doubt this will materially lessen the impact of sanctions on Iran.

Israel is particularly concerned with Iran's involvement in neighbouring Syria and has pledged to keep it from entrenching itself militarily there.

The macro reasons are that - unlike with the Obama administration sanctions that had basically unanimous global support - Russia, China and even the European Union, at least in principle, view the Trump US sanctions as a bad faith violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. "India said to the U.S. that they can't stop before March, they are facing a major currency crisis", explained Joel Hancock, an analyst at Natixis.

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Pompeo defended the Trump administration's reimposition of sanctions against Iran from conservative critics who argue more should be done to isolate the country.

"The Iranian people are feeling the economic pressure at their dinner tables and we complain about this, but it will not make Iranian people give up Islam, their values and the [Islamic] Revolution because of rising prices", he said.

Iranian oil exports have fallen by about a million barrels a day in that time, though India and China have continued to purchase it.

The UK, Germany and France - which are among the five countries still committed to the nuclear pact - have all objected to the sanctions.

Iran's national currency, the rial, now trades at 145,000 to one US dollar - down from 40,500 to $1 a year ago.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the USA would not dominate Iran.

What has the reaction been in Iran?

The seizure of the United States embassy by radical students was a key stage in the Islamic revolution of 1979, leading to a 444-day hostage crisis that permanently damaged relations between Washington and Tehran. We are confronting a bullying enemy.


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