AFP-JijiWASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — The United States reimposed a wave of tough, unilateral sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, bringing back into effect harsh penalties that had been lifted under a historic, multi-party nuclear agreement that U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in May.
The first of two rounds of U.S. sanctions kicked in at 12:01 a.m., targeting Iran’s access to U.S. banknotes and key industries, including cars and carpets.
Iranians are already seeing the effects of the sanctions, with Iran’s rial currency losing around half its value since Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord.
Trump’s contempt for the nuclear deal dates back to his time as presidential candidate and on May 8, he made good on a pledge to pull the United States out of the international agreement.
He blasted the agreement yet again Monday, calling it a “horrible, one-sided deal [that] failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”
The unilateral withdrawal came despite other parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — pleading with Trump not to abandon the pact aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and highlights the U.S. leader’s go-it-alone style and his distaste for multilateral agreements.
In an executive order Monday, Trump said the sanctions seek to pile financial pressure on Tehran to force a “comprehensive and lasting solution” to Iranian threats, including its development of missiles and regional “malign” activities.
The European Union’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc, as well as Britain, France and Germany, deeply regretted Washington’s move.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran,” she said in a statement.
Many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of U.S. penalties, and Trump warned of “severe consequences” against firms and individuals that continued to do business with Iran.
The impact of the return of sanctions has ramped up tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system.