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Donald Trump sanctions Iran’s industrial metals sectors now

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced new sanctions against Iran targeting this time its industrial metals sector, which is the country’s largest non-petroleum export revenue earner, and warned of further actions unless Teheran “fundamentally alters its conduct”.

The new curbs impact Iran’s iron, steel, aluminium and copper sectors — that account for 10% of its economy — and go into effect after 90 days during which times countries and businesses are expected to wind down ongoing arrangements, or face sanctions.

“It remains the policy of the United States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East,” President Trump said in an executive order he signed ordering the new sanctions.

The order “puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated”, Trump said.

India, which has to cut its oil purchases from Iran because of earlier and continuing US sanctions targeting the country’s energy sector, also exports iron and steel products to Iran and the new order’s impact on them could not be ascertained immediately. An FAQ released by the US treasury explaining the Wednesday action said it applies to all those engaged in a “significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the iron, steel, aluminium, or copper sectors of Iran”.

The new curbs came just hours after Iran issued 60-day ultimatum that it will withdraw from some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed in 2015 by Iran, Russia, China, the US and three EU states, France, Britain and Germany, if the European Union did not do more to help it deal with oil and banking sanction imposed by the US. The EU has since rejected Iran’s ultimatum.

The United States was pulled out of the JCPOA exactly a year ago by President Trump, who called the deal “fatally flawed”. He went on to snap back of banking and oil sanctions, which have in force since November. Pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure”, his administration has since then designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organization”.

And the United States deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region last Sunday citing “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” about actions being planned by Iran.

First Published:
May 09, 2019 20:01 IST

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