United States sanctions target Iran's oil exports, shipping and banks

New U.S. Sanctions Against Iran Go Into Effect

After sanctions were re-imposed on Iran following the withdrawal of US from the nuclear deal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said eight countries will be temporarily exempted from the ban on buying crude oil from Iran so as to not disrupt their energy needs.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimpose sanctions against Tehran that were previously lifted under the accord.

The US reimposed on Monday sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama.

He also told Fox News Sunday that the eight countries - which he refused to identify - need "a little bit more time to get to zero" in terms of importing Iranian oil and would not rule out the Trump administration extending the waivers beyond six months.

However eight countries have been granted a temporary exemption for six months despite United States warning previously that it would be harder for Iran's oil importers to get a waiver.

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This is the second round of U.S. 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. "I promise you that doing business with Iran in defiance of our sanctions will ultimately be a much more painful business decision".

Sanctions expert Stacy Keen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said the European Union was looking to assist companies doing business in or with Iran despite the US secondary sanctions, and has updated its Blocking Regulation to protect European Union persons from the US Iranian secondary sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said even without the waivers Iran would still be able to sell its oil, semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Earlier Monday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the new sanctions a "critical" blow to Iran's actions in the region. "We are intent on ensuring that global funds stop flowing to the coffers of the Iranian regime".

"The downside risks to this policy are manifold it could cause Iran to restart its nuclear enrichment efforts, bringing us closer to a military confrontation", he said.

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On Monday, worldwide benchmark Brent crude oil futures were up almost 0.8 percent to $73.41 per barrel and U.S. crude futures were at $63.41, up 0.4 percent.

"Any financial institution, company, or individual who evades our sanctions risks losing access to the USA financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or U.S. companies", Mnuchin said.

However, Iran's clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy. "It will be gradual", the USA president said. The legislation also implies that European courts could nullify USA decisions regarding sanctions.

The 2015 agreement promised that world powers would assist Iran in developing civilian nuclear energy - the clerical regime's stated goal for its atomic program.

The European Union is searching for ways to circumvent the Trump administration's renewed sanctions on Iran, which could have long-term consequences on US policy.

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Earlier today, Trump said that the USA sanctions levied today are the strongest ever on the country's shipping, financial and energy sectors.

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