DONALD Trump seems to see himself as the King of the Dragons, tweeting a Game of Thrones inspired image of himself.
In the tweet, a photo of the US President is accompanied by the words "Sanctions are coming" with the date of November 5th.
The tweet is an allusion to very popular HBO series. The words are displayed in a font very similar to the title of the show. It also seems to imitate one of the most recognizable expressions of the show: "Winter is coming".
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 November 2018
While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, HBO did not seem to be impressed and tweeted, "How do you say brand abuse in Dothraki?".
It had previously issued a statement to CNBC, HBO, saying, "We were unaware of this news and would prefer that our brand not be abused for political purposes."
Trump's tweet referred to the US decision on Friday to re-establish Iran sanctions, which were repealed under the 2015 Nuclear Accord, but provided for exceptions for eight countries that could still import oil from the Islamic Republic without penalty.
In a Friday evening statement, Trump said, "Our goal is to force the regime to make a clear choice: either give up its destructive behavior or continue on the path to economic disaster."
Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said the sanctions are aimed at "fundamentally changing the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran".
He has issued a list of twelve demands that Iran must fulfill in order to lift the sanctions that end the support for terrorism and military involvement in Syria, as well as the cessation of the development of nuclear and ballistic missiles.
How do you say brand abuse in Dothraki?
– HBO (@HBO) 2 November 2018
The sanctions will come into effect on Monday, affecting Iran's shipping, finance and energy sectors. This is the second batch re-imposed by the administration since Mr Trump withdrew from the groundbreaking agreement in May.
The 2015 agreement, one of the biggest diplomatic achievements of former President Barack Obama, gave Iran billions in sanctions in return for curtailing its nuclear program, which many believed developed nuclear weapons.
Trump repeatedly condemned the agreement as the "worst" that the United States negotiated, stating that Iran would receive too little in return.
Advocates, as well as the other parties to the agreement – Great Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union – have vehemently defended it.
The Europeans have sought to save the agreement without the US because they fear that the new sanctions will force Iran to withdraw and resume its nuclear work.
The Friday announcement comes just days before US congressional elections, so Trump should highlight his decision to withdraw from the agreement, a move Republican favorite.
Mr Pompeo said eight nations would be granted temporary derogations allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products if they wish to cease these imports altogether.
He said that these countries, which included other US allies such as Turkey, Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, have made efforts to eliminate their imports, but could not fulfill the task by Monday.
The exemptions are valid for six months. During this time, the importing country can buy Iranian oil, but has to deposit Iran's revenue in a trust account. Iran can spend the money, but only for a limited range of relief supplies.
Mr Pompeo defended the waivers and noted that since May, when the US pushed countries to stop buying Iranian oil, Iranian exports had fallen by more than a million barrels a day.
He said the Iranian economy is already being rolled off the previous sanctions. The currency has lost half of its value since April and prices for fruit, poultry, eggs and milk are skyrocketing.
Some Iran hawks in Congress and elsewhere said Friday's move should have gone further. They hoped that Iran would be separated from the main international financial news network (SWIFT).
With limited exceptions, the re-imposed US sanctions will hit Iran as well as countries that are importing Iranian oil and foreign companies doing business with blacklisted Iranian companies, including their central bank, a number of private financial institutions and government institutions, do not stop. port and shipping companies and hundreds of individual Iranian authorities.
"Our ultimate goal is to force Iran to end its well-documented activities and act like a normal country," Pompeo told reporters in a conference call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and individuals were added to the sanction lists. These would include more than 300 not covered by previous sanctions.
Israel, which views Iran as an existential threat and was against the deal from the start, welcomed Friday's announcement.
"Thank you, Mr. President, for restoring sanctions against an Iranian regime that promises to destroy the Jewish state," said Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a tweet.
Mr Mnuchin defended the decision to allow some Iranian banks to remain affiliated with SWIFT and said that the Belgian-based company was warned against imposing sanctions if sanctioned institutions allowed it. He said US regulators would closely monitor the Iranian transactions that use SWIFT to ensure that all possible US sanctions are punished.