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"Toughest Ever" U.S. Sanctions On Iran Take Effect

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The "toughest ever" U.S. sanctions against Iran have come into force on Monday. In a move to pressure Iran, President Donald Trump's administration has restored all sanctions that were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement reached with Iran under former President Barack Obama.

In connection with the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, the Trump Administration laid out two wind-down periods of 90 days and 180 days for U.S. business activities involving Iran.

On August 7th, when the 90-day wind-down period expired, the first set of sanctions came into force.

A second phase of "snapback" sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, including its oil exports and energy sector, shipping sectors, and financial institutions conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

America's punitive action is a further setback for the Iranian economy, with its currency, the rial, plummeting against the dollar, driving up the price of basic goods.

The Trump administration says the reimposed sanctions are aimed at depriving the Iranian regime of the "revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world."

But Tehran refutes these allegations.

The European Union is against the U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The decision met with fury in Iran, where thousands of people took to the streets chanting "Death to America" and its President vowing to break the sanctions.

President Hassan Rouhani greeted the reimposing of U.S. sanctions with a statement that the Islamic republic faces a "war situation," like the one it fought in the 1980s against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

"We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win," Rouhani said in nationally televised speech Monday.

"Yesterday, Saddam was in front of us, today Trump is in front of us. There is no difference. We must resist and win," he added.

Meanwhile, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo sent an apparent warning to countries that continue to buy oil from Iran even after the sanctions by saying, "watch what we do."

Pompeo announced last week that eight "jurisdictions" will be granted temporary waivers from energy-related sanctions due to reductions in their crude oil imports from Iran and cooperation on many other fronts.

He is expected to name the eight countries on Monday.

Reports quoting U.S. officials say the countries include U.S. allies Italy, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, and its economic foe China.

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