The United States again restricted Iran’s oil and financial industry on Monday. Iran criticized the move.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Iranian television Monday that his country would try to continue to sell oil to break the U.S. sanctions.
Rouhani added that his country would resist efforts to punish it for its disputed nuclear program. Western nations say Iran aims to build nuclear weapons.
Rouhani added, “We are in the economic war situation.”
Eight governments have received temporary permission to continue to import Iranian oil. They are China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. Those governments make up a majority of Iran’s oil exports. It is not clear when the special permission will end.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the sanctions that took effect on Monday. “Today we sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels as part of Treasury’s largest-ever single day action targeting Iran,” Mnuchin said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also commented, saying Iran had a choice. “It can either do a 180 degree turn from its outlaw course of action and act like a normal country, or it can see its economy crumble,” Pompeo said.
Iran is already facing an economic crisis. Over the last year, the exchange value of Iran’s currency has dropped sharply against the U.S. dollar. A lack of jobs and high prices have also led to major protests.
The restrictions officially end all economic gains the U.S. permitted Iran after the nuclear agreement of 2015. The U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany signed that agreement, along with Iran.
But President Donald Trump announced last May that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement. Trump said the deal permitted Iran to continue its secret development of nuclear weapons and gave it money to support violence throughout the Middle East.
Supporters of the agreement say Iran remained compliant with the deal. And, they say, the agreement was the best way to slow Iran’s nuclear development.
In a statement Friday, Trump said the purpose of re-imposing sanctions is to force Iran’s leaders to end the country’s “destructive behavior.” If Iran fails to do this, he said, it would “continue down the path toward economic disaster.”
On Sunday, some Iranians marked the 39th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Iranian revolutionary activists held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days.
I’m Mario Ritter.