US sanctions on Iran to target gold, carpets and more
The Trump administration will launch its first round of sanctions against Iran after midnight on Monday, targeting gold, aluminium, pistachios and carpets.
Banks and companies in danger of being affected by the reimposition of the sanctions were given 90 days to prepare after President Trump opted to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May, a move which sent Iran’s currency plummeting and caused protests in the Middle Eastern nation.
Dennis Ross, who has worked on Middle East policy in four US administrations, said: "It's pretty clear the Iranians are suffering a fair degree of anger over the economy."
Sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and energy sector industry, the prime drivers behind its economy, will go back into effect after 4 November, according to a senior US official.
Richard Nephew, the lead sanctions expert to the US team that negotiated the 2015 deal, said the harsh nature of the Trump administration’s sanctions would end "wishful thinking" that the threat of sanctions was merely a feint to "rejuvenate the diplomatic process".
The move has proved internationally divisive, with European officials viewing the agreement as crucial to their national security and international inspectors having concluded that Iran is complying with the 2015 accord.
Companies such as Airbus, Boeing and car manufacturer Peugeot have already seen investments and contracts scuppered or endangered by the sanctions despite European attempts to block companies from US imposed penalties.
Other countries have been reluctant to adhere to the Trump administration’s sanctions as well, with reports last week suggesting that China will reject US demands to scale down imports of Iranian oil.
Writing in Foreign Affairs, Dina Esfandiary and Ariane Tabatabai said: "Today, as Washington once again seeks to tighten the screws, Tehran sees its relationship with Beijing as key to remaining afloat. Chinese engagement with Iran might pave the ground for others to follow suit, which would undermine the new U.S. pressure campaign."
The White House appears to be gambling on the use of sanctions to secure a better deal with Iran than was managed by the Obama administration, which had agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for the imposition of limitations on Iran's nuclear programme.
Trump’s additional demands include stricter restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme, a halt to its ballistic missile program and release US citizens imprisoned in the country.