The Iranian economy will “crumble” under the newly reimposed U.S. sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that America withdrew from in May, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
“The Iranian regime has 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 told reporters. “We hope a new agreement with Iran is possible, but until Iran makes changes in the 12 ways I listed in May we will be relentless in exerting pressure on the regime.”
The second and final round of punitive sanctions took effect on Monday, targeting Iranian sectors related to energy, shipping and ship-building, in addition to those in the insurance and transactions sector, including the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions.
Despite reports that the United States would not sanction any Iranian access to the international financial transaction system known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, commonly referred to as SWIFT, Iran will still be able to maintain limited access for solely humanitarian purposes, said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a conference call with reporters on Friday.
“Humanitarian transactions to non-designated entities will be allowed to use the SWIFT messaging system as they have done before, but banks must be very careful that these are not disguised transactions, or they could be subject to certain sanctions,” he said.
“We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero,” said Pompeo.
Finally, the secretary of state said the administration would provide waivers for European nations for civil nuclear cooperation at a few Iranian facilities.
“Allowing these activities to continue, for the time being, will improve ongoing oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program and make these facilities less susceptible to illicit and illegal nuclear uses,” said Pompeo. “Rest assured, Iran will never come close to getting a nuclear weapon on President Trump’s watch.”