Trump warns trading partners over Iran sanctions

Washington, Aug 7 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a strong warning to anyone trading with Iran, following his re-imposition of sanctions on the country.

“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the US. I am asking for world peace, nothing less,” Trump said in a tweet.

Some re-imposed sanctions took effect overnight and tougher ones relating to oil exports will begin in November. The sanctions followed the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, earlier this year.

The deal, negotiated during the term of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the measures “psychological warfare” which aimed to “sow division among Iranians”. The sanctions take aim at various sectors, with further punitive action planned against Iran’s oil trade.

Rouhani said the US government had “turned their back on diplomacy” with the action. “They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation,” he said.

“Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense. We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks… but talks need honesty.” The Iranian President also accused the Trump administration of using Tehran as domestic political leverage ahead of November’s midterm elections in the US.

“They will exert pressure on us and cause pain, but we will certainly come out of the end of this healthier,” he said about the penalties that went back into effect at 12.01 a.m. on Tuesday.

Rouhani said that China and Russia had indicated they will not abide by US sanctions despite Trump’s threat of “severe consequences”.

Trump has called the deal “one-sided”, “disastrous” and the “worst I’ve ever seen”. He believes renewed economic pressure will force Iran to agree to a new deal and end its “malign” activities.

The other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal, including the EU, Russia and China, were sticking with the accord. In a statement on Monday, the EU, the UK, France and Germany said they “deeply regret” the US action. The EU announced it would take legal steps to protect European companies “doing legitimate business in Iran.”

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