USA permits activity at 3 Iran nuclear sites, even as sanctions renewed

This is the second round of United States sanctions against Iran after the USA withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, in May this year, China's official Xinhua news agency reported on its website today.

The Trump administration's intensifying effort to strangle Iran's economy, critics say, marks a gamble as it divides the USA from traditional allies in Europe and casts uncertainty into oil markets.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state TV that Iran would break the sanctions and continue to sell oil.

Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis.

India, which is the second biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, is being pushed by the USA to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, according to sources.

The US side was unmoved.

In May, Trump officially withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and ordered the new round of sanctions on Iran. "We hope a new agreement with Iran is possible, but until Iran makes changes in the 12 ways I listed in May we will be relentless in exerting pressure on the regime".

China denounced new United States sanctions targeting Iran's oil and financial sectors as "long-arm jurisdiction" on Monday and vowed to continue its bilateral trade with the Islamic republic.

Two of the countries have agreed to reduce imports to zero while six others "will import at greatly reduced levels", Pompeo said.

Oil exports, which provide 40% of the revenue of the State of iran according to the world Bank, have already fallen to 2.5 million barrels per day to 1.6 million in September.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed penalties on more than 700 Iranian and Iranian-linked individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels in the new sanctions. Iran and five world powers (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France and Germany) plan to observe the deal.

Many of these companies were initially hit by Obama-era sanctions that were subsequently lifted when the U.S. entered the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

The reinstated sanctions follow the Trump administration's decision in May to pull out of the global nuclear deal.

Oil is Iran's main source of income.

"The crude oil from Iran is essential to producing chemical products and the price is relatively low". There are also sanctions on port operators, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, including dealings with particular shipping lines, on transactions by financial institutions with designated Iranian financial institutions and on the provision of specialised financial messaging services to certain Iranian financial institutions. Most Europeans, as well as Japan and South Korea, have stopped.

Although imports of oil were temporarily allowed under the waiver, Korea still can not trade with Iran in any other business area such as automobiles, finance, shipbuilding, energy or minerals.

Vanessa Coleman