Washington is considering additional sanctions against Iran, a senior U.S. administration official has said, Radio Liberty reported.
Washington intends to follow through with new sanctions around the first anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from a landmark international nuclear deal, the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said on April 1.
President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States was pulling out of the 2015 deal meant to curb Tehran’s nuclear program and ordered that sanctions be imposed again on Iran. The sanctions target Iran’s energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and financial sectors.
“We just want a continued chilling effect. We want businesses to continue to think doing business with Iran is a terrible idea at this point.” the official said.
The 2015 pact, agreed by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran, sought to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in return for the removal of sanctions that had crippled its economy.
The official said Washington hoped to take the additional measures in the coming weeks. The Trump administration has pressed hard against what it calls Tehran’s “malign” activities including alleged support for extremist violence in the Middle East, testing of ballistic and nuclear weapons, and support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, Iran said on April 1 that U.S. sanctions were impeding aid workers from sending helicopters to flood-hit regions of the country because of the poor state of the national helicopter fleet.
Iran has announced a state of an emergency in southern regions threatened by flooding after heavy rains that have killed more than 45 people.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that U.S. sanctions were “impeding aid efforts by #IranianRedCrescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods.”
“Blocked equipment includes relief choppers: This isn’t just economic warfare; it’s economic TERRORISM,” Zarif said.
On Monday, as authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of flood-stricken cities in western Iran after rivers burst their banks, dams overflowed and vast areas were cut off from communication.
A chronic shortage of rescue helicopters in Iran, due to U.S. sanctions, has forced the emergency services to request help from military helicopters and amphibious armored personnel carriers to assist in the rescue operations, The Times of Israel reported.
The authorities declared a “situation red”, the highest level of alert, in Lorestan province with four or five cities “completely critical,” state television news network IRINN reported from Khorramabad, the region’s capital.
“In Khorramabad the water has risen by as much as three meters (nearly 10 feet) in parts… and reports are coming in of regions… completely submerged with residents stranded on their rooftops,” it added.
The Red Crescent’s provincial director, Sarem Rezaee, said his organization had lost contact with much of the region.
“Telephones are not working, our radio communications are down… at this moment we have no news of other cities and villages,” he told IRINN, adding roads were flooded and helicopters were unable to take off due to the bad weather.“We have requested emergency help from neighboring provinces but at the present no one can do anything.”
The airport in the western city of Khorramabad was flooded, with images showing water submerging the runway and cutting the province’s main air link to the rest of the country.