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The Trump administration is to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, reports The BBC.
The White House said it was “the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed” on Tehran. It targets both Iran and states that trade with it. However, temporary waivers will be granted to eight countries to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil. EU states that backed the nuclear deal have said they will protect EU firms doing “legitimate” business with Iran.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in May, describing it as “defective at its core” because it had not stopped Iran developing a ballistic missile programme and intervening in neighbouring countries.
“Sanctions are coming,” he tweeted after Friday’s announcement, referencing the TV series Game of Thrones and its motto “Winter is coming”.
The US has been gradually re-imposing sanctions, but analysts say this move is the most important because it targets the core sectors of Iran’s economy.
The agreement saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Barack Obama, the US president at the time, had argued the deal would prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms. The UK, France, Germany, Russia and China were also parties to the 2015 accord and have stuck to it, saying Iran is complying.
What action is being taken?
The US sanctions will come back into force on Monday 5 November, covering shipping, shipbuilding, finance and energy.
Image copyright EPA Image caption Iran’s oil industry faces new restrictions
More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft will be put on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that the Brussels-based Swift network for making international payments was expected to cut off links with targeted Iranian institutions.
Being disconnected from Swift would almost completely isolate Iran from the international financial system.
They are the second lot of sanctions re-imposed by Mr Trump since May.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set out 12 demands that Iran must meet if sanctions are to be lifted – including ending support for militants and completely ballistic missile development.