Washington.- Six months after closing the door to the nuclear agreement with Iran, the United States confirmed yesterday that as of Monday it will re-establish new sanctions against Tehran, although doubts persist about the final goal of this US campaign of "maximum pressure".
A first set of measures, which had been lifted in exchange for the commitment signed in 2015 by Iran and the big powers for Tehran not to have an atomic bomb, were reimposed in August.
The second bloc will take effect on Monday, despite protests from Iranian leaders, Washington's European allies, as well as from China and Russia. It is about sanctioning foreign entities or companies that continue buying Iranian oil or interacting with the Islamic Republic's banks, preventing them from accessing the US market.
Eight countries have received exemptions and will be able to continue importing Iranian oil, without being subject to sanctions. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin made the announcement on Friday.
Pompeo said the sanctions seek to "fundamentally alter the conduct of the Islamic Republic of Iran." It published a list of 12 demands that the nation must comply with in order for sanctions to be repealed, among them, that Iran stop supporting terrorism, cease its military intervention in Syria and definitively end its nuclear and missile programs. "Maximum pressure means maximum pressure," he said.
Pompeo said that eight nations will receive temporary exemptions that will allow them to continue importing Iranian oil products.
Official sources said that among those eight nations there are allies of the American Union, such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea.
Mnuchin said that 700 Iranian companies and individuals will be punished with the new sanctions.
The most intransigent legislators in the US Congress are likely to be disappointed by the sanctions, preferring zero exemptions and the decoupling of Iran from the international financial system, known as SWIFT.
Mnuchin defended the decision to allow some Iranian banks to remain linked to SWIFT, claiming that the Belgian firm had been warned that it would be penalized if the sanctioned Iranian entities use that system.
France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) condemned the measures.
"We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States as a result of its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan [JCPOA]", They said in a joint statement referring to the 2015 nuclear agreement.
"We aim to protect European economic actors who are engaged in legitimate trade with Iran," the statement said, signed by European diplomat Federica Mogherini and French Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian. ; from Germany, Heiko Maas, and the British, Jeremy Hunt. The republican repeats that he is willing to meet with Iranian leaders.
Since October 24, 12 days before the re-imposition of the sanctions, the State Department began a countdown and every day publishes on Twitter the 12 conditions of Washington for a "global agreement" with Iran.
To force him to comply with his conditions, the US government intends to impose on Iran the "strongest sanctions in history", as new punitive measures are expected in the coming months.
"That's thinking about magical solutions," said Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.
"We are not in 2012, when the world was united against the sanctions against Iran," explained Barbara Slavin, from the Atlantic Council think tank. "This time, it's about the Trump administration trying to impose on the rest of the world a policy that most countries do not want," he said.