Six months after the president announced he was withdrawing the US from the eight-party deal signed by Barack Obama with the intention of limiting Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, the US government said a second batch of sanctions would come into effect on Monday.
These will cover Iran’s shipping, financial and - crucially - its energy sectors. Iran’s economy has long relied on its exports of crude oil.
While Iran has claimed the Trump administration is seeking to overthrow the government in Tehran - something that was recently the publicly-stated aim of John Bolton, now the US national security adviser, Washington insists it only wants the Iranian authorities to change their behaviour.
It accuses them of funding terror organisations across the Middle East and interfering in the political situation in Syria and Iraq, something that Iran accuses the US of also doing.
Washington has for months been engaged in a major economic and propaganda campaign against Iran, and threatened to boycott countries that continued to trade with it.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Friday the sanctions were “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavioor of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. He has released a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted. They include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
“Maximum pressure means maximum pressure,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Mr Pompeo said eight nations, which other officials identified as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as long as they end such imports entirely. He said those countries had made efforts to eliminate their imports but could not complete the task by Monday’s deadline.
Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions lists under the reimposed sanctions.
Meanwhile, Iran claimed it had no concerns over the reimposition of the new sanctions.
“America will not be able to carry out any measure against our great and brave nation ... We have the knowledge and the capability to manage the country’s economic affairs,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state television, according to Reuters.
“The possibility of America being able to achieve its economic goals through these sanctions is very remote and there is certainly no possibility that it will attain its political goals through such sanctions.”
He added: “The new US sanctions will mostly have psychological effects.”
Washington first reimposed sanctions on Iran in August following Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. Under that arrangement, most international sanctions were lifted in 2016.