As US sanctions against Iran came back into effect on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that several countries secured oil import exemptions, including: India, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
Iran has said it will defy the reimposition of sanctions, which target the country’s oil exports and financial transactions. The US decided to reimpose the sanctions after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.
Exemptions from sanctions:
- Pompeo told reporters that the eight countries secured temporary waivers to continue importing oil from Iran.
- The exemptions were granted with the understanding that the countries will seek to reduce their imports to zero.
- Waivers were also issued to allow European firms to continue conversion work on two of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
- Pompeo also warned Tehran that it can “either do a 180-degree-turn, or it can see its economy crumble.”
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he expects European nations to honor the sanctions, but that certain transactions — particularly humanitarian ones — will continue to be allowed.
Iran decries ‘bullying’
Iranian leaders appeared defiant on Monday, saying they are preparing to weather the storm. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country “will continue to sell our oil,” despite the sanctions.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the reimposition of sanctions as “bullying,” adding that the move was backfiring against Washington by making it more isolated even among its allies.
What the sanctions target: Monday’s measures completely restore all the US sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear deal. This round specifically targets over 700 Iranian entities and assets including: 50 Iranian banks, Iran Air, as well as numerous people and vessels in the country’s shipping sector. The sanctions also come as Iran’s economy is under pressure from the first round of US sanctions that went into effect in August.
What is the Iran nuclear deal? In July 2015, international powers and Iran agreed to a deal that called for lifting crippling international sanctions in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear program. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal with Iran was signed by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, France and the European Union. Trump announced he was pulling his country out of the deal earlier this year.