Washington. U.S officially confirmed this Friday that it will re-establish all sanctions against Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, but announced that eight countries could continue importing crude from that nation, said Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
The Treasury Department will ask that Iran exit the Swift international banking circuit (with the exception of humanitarian transactions), and announced that it added 700 people and entities to the black list that establishes sanctions.
The reimposition of punitive measures against Tehran "is aimed at depriving the regime of the income it uses to spread death and destruction throughout the world," said Pompeo.
"Our ultimate goal is to force Iran to permanently abandon their documented illegal activities and begin to behave like a normal country, "he said.
Pompeo did not name the countries exempted from the ban on buying Iranian oil, but said that this exception was granted to countries that have promised or have already begun to cut their purchases of crude from the Islamic republic, whose economy depends heavily on that income .
The list of countries will be known on Monday, but the Secretary of State anticipated that no member of the European Union is part of it.
Analysts expect exemptions to be granted to South Korea, India, and even Turkey and China.
"Maximum pressure implies maximum pressure," said Pompeo.
The announcement comes six months after President Donald Trump came out of the nuclear deal with Iran and begin to re-establish sanctions that had been suspended or eliminated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
A first set of punitive measures, which had been lifted in exchange for the commitment signed in 2015 by Iran and the great powers so that Tehran did not endow itself with an atomic bomb, had already been reimposed in August.
The process of restoring sanctions ends on Monday with bans on oil trade, banking and other commercial operations.
– Economic pressure –
To make clear the differences with the Obama administration, Pompeo highlighted the hardening under the Trump government, which promised "the strongest sanctions in history."
According to Pompeo, Obama had granted about 20 exemptions in oil sales, against the eight that will be granted. In addition, the inclusion of 700 people or entities to the blacklist of U.S exceeds the preceding one by 300
A European diplomat analyzes the action: "It is the same war plan applied to Kim Jong Un and North Korea: sanctions, maximum pressure and then they are ready to negotiate."
The Iranian economy and its currency have suffered for several months.
Trump repeats that he is ready to meet with the leaders of Iran to negotiate a global agreement on the basis of 12 conditions established by U.S: tougher restrictions than those set out in the text of the 2015 agreement, the end of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and the activities considered "destabilizing" by Tehran in neighboring countries, such as Syria, Yemen, Lebanon.
"This is an illusion," Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group told AFP. "Despite economic pressure, the Iranians have been able to continue supporting their regional allies for 40 years" since the 1979 Islamic revolution, he says.
In addition, evaluates Barbara Slavin, of the Atlantic Council's expert committee, "we are not in 2012 when the world joined the sanctions against Iran"
"This time it is the Trump government that tries to impose on the rest of the world a policy that most countries do not want," he analyzes.
The European Union is determined to help Iran to obtain some economic benefits from its adherence to the 2015 agreement, to prevent it from abandoning it and to restart the nuclear arms race.
The strategy of U.S it is even more complicated in the face of the recent cooling of relations with Saudi Arabia following the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Riyadh is a key ally of Washington, which hopes to establish a strategic alliance for the Middle East, bringing together the Arab countries of the Gulf, Egypt and Jordan, to counteract the Shia Iran.
"This project died at the same time as Jamal Khashoggi," says the Atlantic Council expert.