The United States government will impose new sanctions on Iran this midnight, announced last May when Washington abandoned the nuclear agreement with Tehran, although it contemplates exemptions for eight countries.
"The sanctions on Iran are very strong, they are the strongest sanctions our country has ever imposed," President Donald Trump told reporters today.
This new battery of sanctions, the second against Iran by the US Executive since May, will target the energy, financial and naval sectors of the Islamic Republic, and penalize companies around the world that buy Iranian oil.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained on Friday that the US plans to temporarily exempt that punishment from a maximum of eight countries or territorial "jurisdictions", which in recent times have worked to "reduce to zero" their oil imports from the Persian country.
"There are a number of places where countries have already made significant reductions in their crude oil imports and they need a little more time to reach zero, and we are going to give them that time," Pompeo explained in an interview with Fox today. News
Pompeo did not identify the countries that will benefit from the exemption for six months, but they are expected to include China, India, Japan and South Korea, according to The New York Times.
In the first round of sanctions, which came into effect on August 6, restrictions were resumed on the purchase of US dollar bills by the Government of Iran, the acquisition of Iranian debt and the trade in gold and other precious metals, among others.
On the occasion of this second round, the US Treasury Department will include more than 300 new entities to its black list, apart from another 400 that will return to it after having left in 2015 when the sanctions with Iran were ended, under the signature of the nuclear agreement, known as the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action (JCPOA).
The alleged violations of that pact, as well as the "malign influence" exerted by the Iranian "regime" in the Middle East, have been the main arguments put forward by the White House for months to justify the sanctions, which have not been supported of the international community.
For this reason, Washington gave Tehran six months in May, a deadline that will be met next midnight, to meet a dozen conditions that would allow it to avoid that punishment; an offer that from the beginning fell on deaf ears.
However, as if it were a countdown, for twelve days now the State Department has been publishing in its official Twitter account with a daily drip of messages those "twelve requirements".
These conditions contemplate detailing in detail the "dimensions" of the Iranian nuclear program and its "permanent and verifiable" abandonment, until the release of any US citizen or from an allied country, through the end of support for organizations considered terrorist by USA
Despite this pressure campaign, Iran, far from being intimidated, questioned the feasibility of the sanctions in the last week, and its president, Hasan Rohaní, said Washington might be considering "reversing" its decision.
"The new US plan against Iran will definitely fail and they are retreating, first they said they were going to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero, after that it was not possible in November, and then little by little they said they want to decrease it, "Rohani said last Wednesday.
Two days ago, Pompeo stressed that the objective is to "deprive" the Iranian Government of the necessary resources to continue financing terrorism in the world, and stressed that President Trump does not want to harm the Iranian people.
For this reason, he said, some basic products for the population, such as food and medicines, will also be exempt from sanctions.
"We have the Iranian people, and we work to have the government they want," Pompeo noted.