State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said: “We will not hesitate to take action when we see sanctionable activity and that is consistent with our policy of economic and diplomatic isolation against Iran.”
US officials from the Treasury Department and State Department have been taking what Hook referred to as travelling “road shows” to explain the policy to their counterparts around the world over the past few weeks, ahead of August 4, when the first sanctions will be reimposed on automotive, gold, and key metals.
Hook said: “They haven’t been to all of Europe, but they’ve been to part of Europe. They’ve been to Asia. Those will continue.”
The remaining sanctions, targeting Iran’s energy sector and central bank, will come into force on November 4.
Why are sanctions returning?
US sanctions on Iran are being reimposed following Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers back in May. Trump pulled out of the deal citing major flaws, including that it did not tackle Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and that expiration dates on the restrictions allowed Iran to legally obtain nuclear weapons in 2024.
The deal, which was also signed by Russia, China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, lifted tough Obama-era sanctions on Iran, in exchange for international sanctions relief.
The European countries are scrambling to save the deal, but their companies are already pulling out of Iran to avoid US sanctions on their businesses. Some have pulled out immediately, while some are waiting to see if the US will grant them a sanctions waiver, but Trump has stated the no sanctions waivers will be forthcoming.
What about Iranian oil?
This could also affect countries, as Turkey and India have refused to stop buying Iranian oil. Hook said that the US was willing to work with nations to reduce their reliance on oil production and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has said they will increase production from other countries, like Saudi Arabia, in order to decrease pressure on oil markets.
Hook said: “We’re in close consultation with not just Europe, but with all countries who are affected by the reimposition of our sanctions.”
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