The Trump administration moved to reimpose punishing sanctions on Iran, threatening even more severe ones for later in the year in an effort to increase pressure on the Tehran regime and bring it to the negotiating table.
The latest sanctions represent the broadest economic action the U.S. has taken against Tehran since President Donald Trump left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May and they will stay in place until Iran meets a dozen demands, including ceasing support for militant groups in the Middle East.
President Trump signed the executive order reinstating the sanctions on Monday which took effect on Tuesday. The restrictions are aimed at stopping the purchase of dollar banknotes by Iran, preventing the government from trading gold and other precious metals and blocking the nation from selling or acquiring various industrial metals.
According to The Wall Street Journal, hours after Monday’s announcement, European officials expressed their opposition to the new sanctions, saying that they will work to maintain the deal as “a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security,” and will maintain financial channels with Tehran.
“We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the U.S., due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” a statement from the foreign ministers of the U.K., Germany, France and the European Union, read.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Monday that Iran was willing to negotiate if the United States is “sincere,” adding, however, that while his country is under sanctions such talks would have no meaning.
“Negotiations at the same time as sanctions, what meaning does that have?” Rouhani said. “It means someone is facing a person who’s a rival and enemy, if they use a knife and they stick the knife in their arm and then they say, ‘Let’s negotiate and let’s talk.’ The response to this is first all, they have to take the knife out and put the knife back in their pocket.”
The Iranian president further called on the EU to take definitive steps to save the Iran deal.