The US reimposed on Monday sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama. Sanctions the Obama administration imposed in 2010 included the Central Bank, effectively cutting off Iran from any US cash dealings, and the resulting pressure helped bring Iran to the talks that led to the Iran deal.
Iran's military forces staged war exercises and its president defiantly vowed to "break" USA sanctions on oil sales that were reimposed today, as Tehran resisted a Trump Administration pressure campaign aimed at isolating the country economically.
South Korean refiners have reduced their oil imports from Iran since the United States pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a nuclear deal with Iran, in May.
In an interview with Press TV, political columnist David William Pear said that the United States sanctions are "really putting such hardships on the Iranian people and it is totally unnecessary". "We hope to find a way together", he added.
The Trump administration also says it wants to stop what it calls Tehran's "malign" activities including cyber attacks, ballistic missile tests, and support for terror groups in the Middle East India and China - the two biggest buyers of Iranian crude, have so far appeared to have skipped the punitive American sanctions targeting the Iranian oil and financial sectors.
"Any financial institution, company, or individual who evades our sanctions risks losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or USA companies", Mnuchin said. "The US-& not Iran-is isolated".
"We have also told the United States that we can not accept non-allies to the USA - such as China - benefitting from the ally's (South Korea's) sacrifice", the official said.
"[The] infrastructure allows European companies to avoid USA sanctions in the future ... long-term it's very worrying for the future of US sanctions infrastructure", Ashford said.
Iran and the P5+1, the United Nations Security Council's five permanent members -the U.S., the UK, France, Russia, and China - plus Germany, reached the Iran nuclear deal in July 2015.
The company's spokeswoman has also commented on the conditions for the oil imports payments introduced by Washington for the eight countries, under which they will be required to deposit Tehran's revenues from oil trade in an escrow account. However, the United States gave temporary exceptions to eight importers - China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea - allowing them to keep buying from Iran.
Crude from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq is being shipped by truck to Iran.
The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and targets Tehran's national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, the statement said. Three hundred of the entities are new targets.
It follows Washington's withdrawal from a 2015 global agreement on Iran's nuclear programme. But the workaround might end up having long-term implications when it comes to the effectiveness of US sanction policies.
"Exempting eight countries from the USA sanctions means Iranian oil will continue to flow and there's no longer risk of a supply shortage", he said.
The European Union, France, Germany and Britain said they regretted the U.S. decision and would seek to protect European companies doing legitimate business with Tehran. Those governments make up a majority or Iran's oil exports.
Trump told reporters he wanted to impose the oil sanctions slowly so as not to "cause a shock to the market".
"Sagging refining margins at a time of weak crude prices sends a very telling message to us that demand is underperforming", he said.
Worldwide benchmark Brent crude traded at $72.85 per barrel on Monday at opening, showing an increase of 0.43 percent from the daily average of $73.17 per barrel.
US WTI crude oil rose 35 cents, or 0.55 percent, to $63.49 a barrel. "Today, Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell", President of Iran Hassan Rouhani said.