The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, ramping up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic as President Donald Trump completed the unraveling of what had been one of his predecessor’s signature foreign policy achievements.
The sanctions, which will take effect on Monday, cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors and are the second batch the administration has reimposed since Trump withdrew from the landmark accord in May. The rollback ends U.S. participation in the nuclear deal, which now hangs in the balance as Iran no longer enjoys any relief from sanctions imposed by the world’s largest economy.
Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted what looks like a movie poster image of himself walking that takes creative inspiration from the TV series “Game of Thrones” to announce the reimposition of sanctions. It, says “Sanctions are Coming, November 5.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions are “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He has issued a list of 12 demands that Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted. Those include ending support for terrorism and military engagement in Syria and a complete halt to its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
The 2015 deal, one of former President Barack Obama’s biggest diplomatic successes, gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, which many believed it was using to develop atomic weapons. Trump repeatedly denounced the agreement as the “worst ever” negotiated by the United States and vowed to withdraw from it during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump and other critics of the deal said it gave Iran too much in return for too little, allowed Iran to gradually resume nuclear activity that could eventually be used for weapons development and did not address any of the country’s other problematic activities.
Obama-era officials as well as the other parties to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — have vehemently defended it. The Europeans have mounted a drive to save the agreement from the U.S. withdrawal, fearing that the new sanctions will drive Iran to pull out and resume all of its nuclear work.
The foreign and finance ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the top EU diplomat blasted the restoration of sanctions, saying that Iran is complying with the deal and that they were working on ways to mitigate the impact of the U.S. move.