President Donald Trump is signing an executive order reimposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. He says the U.S. policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.
In a statement Monday, Trump restated his opinion that the 2015 international accord to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions was a “horrible, one-sided deal.” He says it left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
Trump says the U.S. is urging all nations “to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
Trump warned that those that don’t wind down their ties to the Iranian economy “risk severe consequences” under the reimposed sanctions.
A senior administration official says the United States is “not particularly concerned” by EU efforts to protect European firms from the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.
The European Union issued a “blocking statute” Monday to protect European businesses from the impact of sanctions set to return Monday at midnight.
The official says the U.S. will use the sanctions aggressively and cited Iran’s severe economic downturn this year as evidence the sanctions would prove to be effective despite opposition from the EU, China and Russia.
European foreign ministers say they “deeply regret” the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
A statement Monday by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom insisted that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear program.
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, which had lifted international sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to restrictions on its nuclear program. U.N. inspectors said Iran was complying with the deal, but Trump argued that it didn’t do enough.
But the European ministers said the Iran deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world.”
The first set of reinstated U.S. sanctions goes into effect Monday. Those target Iran’s automotive sector as well as gold and other metals.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the renewed sanctions against Iran are an important pillar in U.S. policy toward the Tehran government.
Pompeo says the sanctions will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.
Those sanctions go back in place on Monday.
Pompeo told reporters on his way home from a three-nation trip to South East Asia that the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but adds that would “require enormous change” from Tehran.
He said President Donald Trump is intent on getting Iran to “behave like a normal country.”
U.S. sanctions had been eased by the Obama administration under the terms of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump decided in May to withdraw from the accord.