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U.S. imposes more sanctions on Iran, Tehran decries 'bullying'

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON/DUBAI 

By Lesley and Hafezi

WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - The announced a new raft of sanctions on on Monday and threatened further action to pressure its old adversary, steps the Islamic Republic condemned as "economic war" and vowed to defy.

The move is part of a wider effort by U.S. to curb Tehran's missile and nuclear programmes and diminish the Islamic Republic's influence in the (Graphic: Iran's nuclear programme https://tmsnrt.rs/2D0wdT3)

It follows Washington's withdrawl from an 2015 international agreement on Iran's nuclear programme.

In a statement, said: "Treasury's imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior."

The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and targets Tehran's national airline, Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, the statement said.

Hours earlier, said the "bullying" restoration of and curbs was backfiring by making more isolated, a reference to other world powers opposed to the initiative.

European powers which continue to back the nuclear deal said they opposed the reapplication of sanctions and major buyer said it regretted the move.

The move is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further limit its nuclear work and halt a missile program, as well as end its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, and other parts of the

said it was holding talks with the and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help and drugs keep flowing to

U.S. sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as and pharmaceuticals, but measures imposed on banks and trade restrictions could make such items more expensive.

U.S. of State said on Sunday the penalties returning on Monday were "the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran".

However, Iran's clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.

"Today the enemy (the United States) is targeting our economy...the main target of sanctions is our people," Iranian said.

SANCTIONS "ILLEGAL AND UNFAIR"

"wanted to cut to zero Iran's sales...but we will continue to sell our oil...to break sanctions," Rouhani told economists, adding the sanctions were illegal and unfair.

"This is an economic war against Iran but... should learn that it cannot use the language of force against Iran ... We are prepared to resist any pressure," Rouhani said.

Zarif said had made itself more isolated by pursuing the sanctions.

"U.S. bullying is backfiring... The U.S. - and not Iran - is isolated," Zarif said in a tweet.

Trump announced in from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the The other parties to the deal - Britain, France, Germany, and - say they will not leave.

The deal had seen most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran lifted in return for curbing its disputed nuclear activity under U.N. surveillance.

Details of the sanctions will be released at a conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) with Pompeo and

The European Union, France, and Britain said they regretted the U.S. decision and would seek to protect European companies doing legitimate business with

Diplomats told last month that a new EU mechanism to facilitate payments for Iranian should be legally in place by Nov. 4 but not operational until early next year.

"We continue to believe that the Iran nuclear deal makes the world a safer place," British Theresa May's said. As long as Iran met its obligations under the deal, Britain would be committed to it too.

In Jerusalem, Israeli hailed what he called Trump's courageous decision in reimposing the sanctions on Iran, an arch-foe of

China, India, South Korea, and - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure are not destabilised. (Graphic: Iran's crude exports 1975-2018 https://tmsnrt.rs/2CUMBnT)

The countries will deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account and the funds will be used for humanitarian purposes, according to US officials. (Graphic: Iran's crude exports, production https://tmsnrt.rs/2CRTM0h)

OIL PRICES STEADY

of the waivers initially helped early on Monday, since they allow major buyers to import Iran's oil for a while. But Brent crude was steady at $72.83 by 1230 GMT. U.S. light crude was 15 cents lower at $62.99.

Rouhani said even without the waivers Iran would still be able to sell its oil, semi-official agency reported.

The curbs come as the United States is focused on U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. Campaigning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Sunday, Trump said his "maximum pressure" against Iran was working.

"Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office," said Trump, adding: "They wanted to take over the whole Right now they just want to survive."

To keep the deal alive, the remaining parties to the Iran accord are trying to maintain trade with Tehran, despite scepticism that this is possible.

(Editing by and Jon Boyle)

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

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 19:38 IST
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