The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, ramping up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic as President Donald Trump completed the unraveling of what had been one of his predecessor's signature foreign policy achievements... One group that has been highly critical of the deal welcomed the new sanctions but said there should be no exceptions. "We encourage the Trump administration to fulfill the promise of a maximum pressure campaign - no exceptions - until Iran permanently and verifiably changes its behavior," United Against a Nuclear Iran said in a statement. "Oil and gas firms, including those from friendly countries like India, South Korea and Japan, should not be granted sanctions waivers. Similarly, financial entities - including SWIFT - must sever ties with Iranian banks and financial institutions."
The Trump administration announced on Friday that it was exempting eight countries from bruising sanctions that the United States was reimposing against Iran, undercutting its pledge to economically punish Tehran's regional aggressions while widening a profound rift with European allies... "Whatever happened to maximum pressure?" United Against Nuclear Iran, an anti-Iran group led by former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, wrote on Twitter in response to the administration's waivers. "They caved. Big time."
Military officials are expressing alarm that a shrinking U.S. military presence in the Middle East has undermined their ability to respond to Iranian threats just as the Trump administration's imposition of oil sanctions increases the potential for confrontation.
UANI IN THE NEWS
United Against Nuclear Iran, a group with close ties to the Trump administration who have pushed for full sanctions implementation, was muted in knocking the announcement: "We encourage the Trump administration to fulfill the promise of a maximum pressure campaign -- no exceptions -- until Iran permanently and verifiably changes its behavior," chairman Joe Lieberman, the former independent senator, and CEO Mark Wallace, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a joint statement.
The new sanctions were welcomed by a group, United Against a Nuclear Iran, which however criticised the exceptions made by the administration. They said: "We encourage the Trump administration to fulfil the promise of a maximum pressure campaign - no exceptions - until Iran permanently and verifiably changes its behaviour. Oil and gas firms, including those from friendly countries like India, South Korea and Japan, should not be granted sanctions waivers. Similarly, financial entities - including SWIFT - must sever ties with Iranian banks and financial institutions."
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) issued a statement welcoming the sanctions, but also encouraged a "full and complete economic blockade."
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
President Trump on Friday evening reasserted his openness to reaching a new Iran deal, days before the U.S. is set to reimpose a final set of sanctions on Tehran.
It was predictable that the administration would go soft on oil sanctions exemptions, but it can still make good on its original hard line.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
European governments are locked in negotiations over a special purpose vehicle to safeguard trade with Iran, as a US crackdown on Tehran's oil and finance sectors came into force. Hours before Monday's launch of a US squeeze on Iran's energy industry and central bank, European diplomats said a planned special channel to safeguard non-US trade with Iran would not be ready in time.
Iran greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Monday with air defense drills and a statement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a "war situation," raising Mideast tensions as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.
They might not be as terrifying as the White Walkers or Khaleesi's dragons, but the Trump administration's new sanctions on Iran were announced Friday with the help of a "Game of Thrones"-inspired parody poster declaring: "SANCTIONS ARE COMING."
Foreign and finance ministers from the European Union, United Kingdom, France and Germany on Friday condemned the Trump administration's plans to reimpose the last set of sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal early next week.
Iran's foreign minister called a number of EU leaders, urging them to stand by Tehran as U.S. President Donald Trump levies a raft of damaging sanctions against the country.
A major general in the Iranian army fired back at President Trump's "Game of Thrones" inspired meme with one of his own on Friday, vowing to stand against U.S. sanctions.
I would say to American companies, and any foreign company that wants to do business in the United States. and I would say particularly to their investors and to their independent directors on their boards of directors, if you see your company engaged in a transaction that has word Iran anywhere associated to it, that ought to be like a fire bell in the night. not only will we have the incredibly important civil enforcement the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control, the Justice Department criminal investigators are going to be all over this.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending the Trump administration's reimposition of sanctions against Iran from conservative critics who argue more should be done to isolate the country.
The US will lead a maximum-pressure campaign to stop global funds from flowing to the Iranian regime until it is no longer a threat to international security. Our pressure campaign is designed to bring the Iranian regime to the table to achieve a much better deal than the JCPOA.
They're tougher than critics say, as long as they're enforced.
Front companies, barter deals, oil transfers on the high seas: These are just some of the methods that Iran could employ to keep its economy limping on after American sanctions targeting the country's oil industry went into effect at midnight on Monday.
As the United States reimposes severe economic sanctions on Iran early Monday, President Trump is placing a series of bets that he can not only change Iran's behavior, but also use American economic power to bludgeon reluctant allies into joining him.
The Trump administration has finally faced up to what many knew all along: It won't be able to take Iran's oil exports down to zero. The U.S. is set to grant waivers to eight countries, allowing them to continue to import some level of oil from Iran, on the condition that they ratchet down their purchases in the months ahead.
With Washington poised to curtail Iran's oil exports, OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia and its partners stand ready to ramp up supplies even as market conditions remain uncertain, analysts say.
What happens now? Will these aggressive policies, which start Monday, lead to greater conflict or cooperation with U.S. sanctioning efforts?
When the United States levies sanctions against most countries, it rarely announces them in advance. Except when it comes to Iran.
Once a major customer, the U.S. hasn't bought oil from Iran for more than 25 years. How, then, can it lead a global movement to stop Iran from selling its chief export? The answer is simple: "Do business in Iran or in the United States," State Department official Brian Hook said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted Sunday that the remaining sanctions against Iran that resume Monday will change the Tehran government's behavior in the region.
U.S. sanctions designed to push Iran's oil exports to zero come into force at midnight, but the hard line initially signaled by President Donald Trump is softening as the deadline approaches.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
Iran's powerful Guardian Council on Sunday rejected a bill on joining the UN convention against terrorist financing seen as crucial to maintaining trade and banking ties with the world.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
The regime is once again targeting dissidents in Europe and arresting dual nationals, giving Washington and the EU common cause to sanction senior Iranian officials.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
As Iranians braced for the full restoration of economic sanctions imposed Monday by the Trump administration, their government signaled it would be open to talking to the United States about a new arms nuclear accord if Washington changes its "approach" to discussing the agreement it abandoned earlier this year.
President Trump has put Iran on notice that the punishing sanctions he plans to impose on Monday are just the opening salvo of an ambitious strategy to compel Tehran to pull back from its assertive posture in the Middle East or risk collapse.
With new U.S. sanctions on Iran set to take effect Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boasted Sunday of the Trump administration's efforts to be "tough on Iran." "No one's going to argue that Secretary Pompeo isn't tough on Iran," Pompeo said on "Fox News Sunday." "And no one is going to argue that President Trump isn't doing the same."
Iran's Supreme Leader says on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that the Islamic Republic is the "victorious party" after nearly 40 years of confrontation by the U.S.
Iran's top leader said on Saturday U.S. President Donald Trump's policies face opposition across the world as Washington prepared to reimpose sanctions on Iran's vital oil-exporting and financial sectors, state television reported.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
State TV says Iran has inaugurated the production line of its domestically produced fighter jet a day after the Trump administration announced the reimposition of remaining U.S. sanctions on Tehran to ramp up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Hezbollah escalated its position on the issue of representing Sunni lawmakers not affiliated with the Future Movement over the weekend, to the extent of ruling out the formation of a new government without naming one of them as a minister.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
The United Arab Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Saturday that Iran's "aggressive policies" were "largely responsible" for the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
IRAQ & IRAN
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has issued a rare rebuke of its American ally, asserting that a U.S. Twitter posting concerning neighboring Iran "goes beyond diplomatic norms" and represents an "interference" in Iraq's internal affairs. In a Twitter posting on October 30, still on its account, the U.S. State Department told Iran it must "permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shi'a militias" operating in Iraq.