Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Iranians chant 'death to America' on eve of biting sanctions

Iranians chant 'death to America' on eve of biting sanctions

Pompeo vowed that the USA will be "relentless" in pressuring Iran as he announced the list of the countries temporarily exempted from the sanctions during a press conference broadcast live.

The sanctions cover Iran's banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.

How did we get here?

The U.S. reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its missile and nuclear programs and counter its growing military and political influence in the Middle East. While at the moment not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to warn the controversial process could resume at any time, faster than before.

Pompeo repeated that the "president's policy of maximum pressure will be fully in place" on Monday, and to simply watch Iran. "Right now they just want to survive".

What could the impact be?

In a Face the Nation interview that aired Sunday, Pompeo told John Dickerson emphasized that "they will be the toughest sanctions ever placed against the Islamic republic of Iran".

In addition, the Brussels-based Swift network for making worldwide payments is expected to cut off links with targeted Iranian institutions, isolating Iran from the global financial system. "The US has also been approached for increasing oil supplies if better terms were offered", said the official.

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How do other countries see it?

The UK, Germany and France - which are among the five countries still committed to the nuclear pact - have all objected to the sanctions. "These sanctions hit at the core areas of Iran's economy, and they are necessary to spur changes we seek on the part of the regime".

Speaking at a daily news briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not directly comment on whether China had been granted exemption from the Iran sanctions by the United States.

"The sanctions will force Iran's hand as Mike Pompeo argued that at the rate that the Iranian economy is declining, and protests are intensifying, it should be clear to the Iranian leadership that negotiations are the best way forward", said Dr. Albadr Al-Shateri, politics professor at the National Defense College in Abu Dhabi.

What has the reaction been in Iran?

But on the fringes of the crowd, chants of "Death to America" were lackluster, and the protesters appeared simply to be going through the motions.

The rallies coincided with the siege of the U.S. embassy on November 4, 1979, which took place soon after the fall of the US-backed shah.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, demonstrators poured onto the streets to mark the 39 anniversary of the occupation of the US embassy there, an action that precipitated a protracted hostage standoff that helped tank President Carter's chances at re-election and almost took down the Reagan administration amid the Iran-Contra scandal. The elections are likely to will be held in May next year.

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