Donald Trump reimposes sanctions on Iran that were lifted by Barack Obama

August 6, 2018

The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran Monday, saying the penalties that were lifted under former President Barack Obama will be rigorously enforced until Tehran radically changes its behavior, including the funding of terrorism.

The first set of U.S. sanctions are targeting Iran’s automotive industry, as well as gold and other metals, following President Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Those sanctions had been lifted by the Obama administration under the terms of the landmark deal in 2015 that gave Tehran an infusion of cash, which the U.S. says paid for terrorist activities.

A senior administration official said Monday that the snap back of these sanctions “supports the president’s decision to impose significant financial pressure” on Iran and cut off its ability to fund terrorism and “export revolution” throughout the region.

“This administration intends to fully enforce our sanctions ... to stop its destabilizing activity,” the official said.

The sanctions will be reinstated at midnight Monday, also affecting the sale of graphite, aluminum, steel, and software to and from Iran.

Iran’s economy is in a tailspin, and the nation has seen widespread street protests in recent weeks. Senior administration officials believe the latest sanctions by the U.S. will add to the regime’s difficulties in governing.

“The next 90 days will see increased economic pressure,” an official said. “This will have exponential effect on Iran’s already fragile economy.”

A second series of sanctions will be reinstated in November, targeting Iran’s central bank, its oil sector, shipbuilding sector and port operators.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Sunday that the administration is willing to consider a future without sanctions, but it would “require enormous change” from Iran.

“We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward, but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

He said Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, and that Mr. Trump is intent on getting them to “behave like a normal country.”

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