United States prepares to reinstate Iran sanctions

With US sanctions against Iran officially going back into place on August 6, the Iranian government is scrambling to take some last minute measures to shore up their economy, and particularly their currency, before the sanctions start to hit.

Iran's currency, the rial, has tanked, losing about half its value against the dollar.

The rhetoric between the USA and Iran remains heated, despite Trump tweeting last week that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He again justified leaving the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and left the door open to negotiations for new deal in the future.

President Hassan Rouhani told Iran's state television Monday that he would welcome talks, and blamed the USA for backing out of dialogue. "But talks need honesty", he added.

Rouhani fell back on the rhetoric of many of his predecessors by referencing the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew Iran's elected prime minister and cemented the shah's rule.

Iranians anxious by the impending sanctions have rushed to buy dollars, gold coins, cars, and small apartments to store up their savings, while the severe shortage of hard currencies has pushed up the price of goods. The reimposition of sanctions on Iran will have major impact on countries like India, with which it has traditional and historic trade relationship. Other sanctions on the country's oil industry are expected to resume on November 5, 2018.

At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, the USA will sanction Iran's central bank, sending a clear message to its European allies: Do business with the U.S., or do it with Iran, but not both.

The statute also blocks the effects of USA court actions in Europe and allows European firms to recover damages arising from the sanctions from anyone who causes them.

According to S&P Global Platts, Iranian oil production is already under pressure because of approaching sanctions.

US officials said the drills appeared created to send a message to Washington.

President Donald Trump is aiming to cut off the Iranian leadership's access to resources, senior U.S. administration officials said on Monday.

"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas", it said.

Iran's net official reserves are projected to decline this year to $97.8 billion, enough to finance about 13 months of imports, the International Monetary Fund estimated in March.

Bolton said that the sanctions show how strongly the administration feels that the Iranian nuclear weapons program needs to end.

In July, Iranian Supreme Leader's Top Adviser for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said Tehran would be present in Syria and Iraq at the request of these countries' legitimate governments and would not leave despite the threats voiced by the United States.

And it has added to 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.

Trump warned on Monday of "severe consequences" for people or entities that fail to wind down economic activities with Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the sanctions will "counter its malign activities".


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