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World
07 Aug 2018

US hits Iran again with tough, unilateral sanctions

The US re-imposed a wave of tough, unilateral sanctions against Iran today, bringing back into effect harsh penalties that had been lifted under a historic, multi-party nuclear agreement that President Donald Trump abandoned in May.

The first of two rounds of US sanctions kicked in at 12:01 am (GMT+04.31), targeting Iran's access to US banknotes and key industries, including cars and carpets.

Here's more.

In context

US reimposes tough, unilateral sanctions against Iran
Trump pulled America out of Iran's nuclear deal in May

Iran nuclear deal

Trump pulled America out of Iran's nuclear deal in May

Iranians are already seeing the effects of the sanctions, with Iran's Rial currency losing around half its value since Trump announced the US would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Trump's contempt for the Iran nuclear deal dates back to his time as a presidential candidate and on May 8, he made good on a pledge to pull America out of the international agreement.

Agreement

Other parties including China, Britain, EU were against Trump's withdrawal

Trump blasted the agreement yet again yesterday, calling it a "horrible, one-sided deal (that) failed to block all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb."

The unilateral withdrawal came despite other parties to the agreement, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the EU pleading with Trump not to abandon the pact and highlights the US leader's go-it-alone style and his distaste for multilateral agreements.

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Trump says sanctions aim to financially pressurize Iran

In an executive order yesterday, Trump said the sanctions seek to pile financial pressure on Tehran to force a comprehensive and lasting solution to Iranian threats, including its development of missiles and regional "malign" activities.

Iran already seeing protests against water shortage, high prices

Effects

Iran already seeing protests against water shortage, high prices

The impact of the return of sanctions has ramped up tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system.

The second phase of US sanctions, which takes effect from November 5, will block Iran's oil sales and is due to cause more damage.

Comprehensive deal

Trump still open to more comprehensive deal but Rouhani unimpressed

Trump said he was open to reaching a more comprehensive deal with Iran that addresses the full range of the regime's "malign" activities.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was unimpressed.

"If you're an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife, and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife," Rouhani said.

European firms leaving Iran incurring fear of US penalties

Many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of US penalties, and Trump warned of "severe consequences" against firms and individuals that continued to do business with Iran. However, several countries including China and India have indicated unwillingness to cut their Iranian energy purchases.

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