Iran president says country will 'proudly' break United States sanctions by selling oil

AFP  Atta Kenare

Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas - have said the new sanctions aren't tough enough and have drafted legislation that would require the Trump administration to demand that Iran be suspended from the worldwide bank transfer system.

With Iran's economy already creaking under renewed U.S. sanctions, tight restrictions on Iran's oil and banking sectors which come into effect today risk tipping the country into chaos.

South Korea said on Monday it has been granted a waiver to at least temporarily continue to import condensate, a super-light form of crude oil, from Iran and also still continue financial transactions with the Middle East country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA aimed to reduce Iranian oil sales to zero. "We also noted that the global community is widely against unilateral sanctions", he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

The US stance has already inflicted serious pain on Iranians, with the country's currency, the rial, losing more than two thirds of its value since May. "And we'll see what happens with Iran, but they're not doing very well, I can tell you".

"Switzerland is committed to safeguarding Swiss economic interests and closely follows the development of the situation". While at the moment not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to warn the controversial process could resume at any time, faster than before.

"That's the goal, that's the mission, and that's what we will achieve on behalf of the president".

President Trump announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States.

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More than half, or about 400, will have had their designations lifted as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action while roughly 300 will be new designations.

Trump said the deal was weak and favoured Iran.

When asked whether the administration's efforts would push Iran closer to a nuclear bomb, he replied: "We are confident that will not happen". He said what he called "the terror regime" in Tehran must change its ways. "Perhaps a democratic administration will be more susceptible to a new deal that will reaffirm the JCPOA with a different nomenclature. Market surveys of Iranian exports show a decline of more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) as of October from May", Edward Bell, commodity analyst at Emirates NBD bank said.

Rouhani then maintained that the country's exports have increased in the past seven months compared to the same period previous year, saying the growth occurred despite the US' attempt to hamper Iran's economic activities. Demonstrations also were held in other Iranian cities, The Associated Press reported. "That may spell the beginning of the end of the dollar hegemony". Trump said on Friday that Iran's government must "either abandon its destructive behavior or continue down the path toward economic disaster".

However, analysts doubt this will materially lessen the impact of sanctions on Iran.

His comments came after the United Kingdom suggested it was against Mr Trump's decision to reointroduce the sanctions. "It's our expectation that will be implemented as soon as technologically feasible".

Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis. The Europeans have mounted a drive to save the agreement without the USA, fearing that the new sanctions will drive Iran to pull out and resume all of its nuclear work. "Essentially the sanctions that were taken off are snapping back", said Katherine Bauer, the Blumenstein-Katz Family Fellow at the Washington Institute. "And we're going to provide that to them". "This is a substantial drop", she said, adding that the ultimate goal was to deprive the regime of revenue it gets from oil. Wallace noted that "there are a lot of experts who believe that India and China are never gonna stop buying oil from Iran".

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