The Trump administration on Monday moved to reimpose the first round of Iranian trade sanctions that had been suspended under the 2015 nuclear agreement, distancing itself from every other country that signed the agreement and putting the accord’s future in jeopardy.
U.S. officials said the sanctions that have been waived for the past two and a half years will be snapped back officially on Tuesday morning at one minute past midnight.
From that moment on, Iran will be prohibited from using U.S. dollars, the primary currency used for international financial transactions and oil purchases. Trade in metals and sales of Iranian-made cars will be banned. Permits allowing the import of Iranian carpets and food, such as pistachios, will be revoked. So will licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U.S. and European aircraft and parts — a restriction that comes just days after Iran completed the acquisition of five new commercial planes from Europe.
The long-anticipated sanctions move came 90 days after President Trump withdrew the United States from the landmark 2015 agreement negotiated with five other world powers. It had suspended U.S. and international sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to limits on its nuclear program. Iran’s faltering economy will take an even bigger hit in another 90 days, on Nov. 4, when sanctions on petroleum, the country’s major export, are slapped back in place.
Those who don’t comply could be subject to “severe consequences,” President Trump said in a statement. He also slammed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, calling it “horrible, one-sided and failed” and declared himself “open” to a new deal to replace it.
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, has consistently said Tehran remains in compliance with the commitments it made. No other country that negotiated the agreement with Iran has decided to back out of it.
There was no immediate reaction from Iran, but some Iranian officials have said the U.S. breach of its commitments under the deal frees them to resume suspended elements of their nuclear program.
The European Union and U.S. allies Britain, France and Germany announced what they called a “blocking statute” to take effect Tuesday that would attempt to nullify U.S. legal action against European firms doing business with Iran.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law,” a joint statement said.
The statement expressed regret over the U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions, and declared, “The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian programme remains exclusively peaceful.”
The Trump dministration set a series of deadlines for the reimposition of all sanctions to allow countries and private businesses to start preparing for them.