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US sanctions on Iran, 'toughest ever,' take force Monday

AFP  |  Washington 

The is reimposing punitive measures targeting the Iranian and financial sectors in what US called "the toughest sanctions ever placed" against

Taking effect Monday, the measures are the most concrete result yet of US Donald Trump's controversial decision in May to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal with

They will directly affect companies from third countries doing business with They could upset world markets, though the US has granted temporary waivers to eight jurisdictions to continue importing Iranian

Iran's Ayatollah denounced the measures on Saturday, saying Trump had "disgraced" US prestige and would be the ultimate loser in the long-running quarrel between the countries. The US side was unmoved.

"Sanctions from the will be reimposed at midnight tonight," told CBS's "" He said what he called "the terror regime" in must change its ways.

World were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions.

"All eyes will be on Iranian exports, whether there will be some cheating around US sanctions, and on how quickly production will fall," said Riccardo Fabiani, an for

Oil is Iran's main source of income. But the sword has two edges: is also the OPEC cartel's third-largest

The US stance has already inflicted serious pain on Iranians, with the country's currency, the rial, losing more than two thirds of its value since May.

Iranian have fallen by about a million barrels a day in that time, though and have continued to purchase it. Most Europeans, as well as and South Korea, have stopped.

Asked if the US had firm commitments from and to stop all from Iran within six months, replied: "Watch what we do. Watch as we've already taken more off the market than any time in previous history." is the only country with the capacity to make up for lost Iranian

Hours before the fresh sanctions went ahead, thousands of people in Iran marked by carrying placards mocking Trump and burning American flags and fake dollars.

Trump has long argued that the 2015 nuclear deal is badly flawed, in part because its provisions would expire in 10 to 15 years and partly because it does not adequately constrain Iran's destabilising behaviour in the region.

His decision was widely criticised abroad and by Democrats at home, who said that while imperfect, the pact had placed the Iranian nuclear programme under the tightest scrutiny ever.

In parallel with the imposition of the sanctions, the is placing more than 600 Iranian individuals and entities on a black list.

And Pompeo said that any Iranian banks involved in "sanctionable behaviour will be sanctioned by the Department of Treasury, period, full stop."

The has established a mechanism to permit its multinational companies to maintain presences in Iran, but all signs are that the US sanctions will be dissuasive. Both and Total have announced plans to leave Iran.

A first set of sanctions announced August 7 prompted European automakers and to quit Iran.

To continue exporting crude oil, Iranian tankers in recent weeks have been turning off their transponders to avoid detection. But satellites have continued to track them.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 08:55 IST