US imposes raft of stringent sanctions on Iran

US imposes raft of stringent sanctions on Iran

South Korea, a US ally and one of Asia's biggest buyers of Iranian oil, asked Washington for "maximum flexibility" last week, after some of its construction firms cancelled energy-related contracts in Iran due to financing difficulties.

"The goal of the sanctions is to diminish the regime's capacity to threaten the region", Mr Hook said, calling them "the toughest sanctions that have ever been imposed" on Iran.

The remaining members believe the agreement is working as intended and is keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now. The measures taking effect Monday restore all the sanctions that had previously been lifted under the accord, which had given Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iraq has also been given an exemption, Brian Hook, the United States special representative for Iran, told reporters in a conference call, saying Iraq was working "on reducing Iran's influence and opening Kirkuk, which would be another 200,000 barrels of oil".

Saudi Arabia is the only country with the capacity to make up for lost Iranian oil production. Iranian revolutionary activists held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Switzerland said it was holding talks with the United States and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help food and drugs keep flowing to Tehran.

"We're going to have sanctions that even go beyond this". On Monday, he revealed those countries include Iran's top two customers, China and India, as well as Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Iran's health sector is concerned about the impact of the sanctions, for example lives will be at risk when the country's supply of medicine runs out due to the sanctions. China has publicly defied the USA call for curbs on oil imports from Iran.

"We have also told the U.S. that we can not accept non-allies to the United States - such as China - benefitting from the ally's (South Korea's) sacrifice", the official said.

The same day as the sanctions were reimposed, SWIFT, the Belgium-based bank messaging system, suspended some Iranian banks from using its system.

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The U.N.'s atomic energy agency, which was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the agreement, has certified in multiple reports that Iran is in compliance. Other parties to the deal, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation, have said they will not leave the deal.

The restrictions officially end all economic gains the US permitted Iran after the nuclear agreement of 2015.

However she said it was "yet to be seen" if these measures would be effective when balanced against the risk of being cut off from the USA market.

Meanwhile, it has been noticed that the European Union did not get a waiver for continuing oil imports from Iran.

World oil markets were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions.

Iran will continue to sell its crude oil in the global market despite "cruel" US new sanctions, Rouhani said.

"It's expected to provide South Korean firms with more opportunities for the trade of non-sanctions items such as medical products, processed food and home appliances, although the exports of some products including steel and automobile parts will be affected by the sanctions", the source said. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.98 a barrel, down 12c from their last settlement.

"Our ultimate goal is to convince the regime to abandon its current revolutionary course", Pompeo said announcing the sanctions on Monday.

President Rouhani said Iran would "continue to sell oil". Many should choose the United States, or have already done so. They say their business could suffer as the exemption is temporary and is strictly limited to oil.

"This is actually what America is trying to do - to encourage discontent that they hope will be taken out on the Iranian government and lead to a change in regime there".