U.S. continues to impose sanctions on Iran

U.S. continues to impose sanctions on Iran

The United States has decided to prolong restrictions related to Iran's nuclear programme, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

He added that the diplomatic isolation and the economic pressure campaign against Iran would continue as long as Tehran expands its nuclear programme.

"The action today will help preserve oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its 'breakout time' to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes", State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The document refers to Iran as "the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism", which continues to use its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security. 

"As long as the Iranian regime continues to reject diplomacy and expand its nuclear program, the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation will intensify," Sputnik cited the statement as saying.

Earlier on Wednesday, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the U.S. had decided to extend Iran sanctions waivers for another 90 days. He added that the U.S. will not permit the possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons capability.

According to Washington Post, U.S. President Donald Trump sided with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over Bolton and Pompeo in this decision.

Yesterday, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Washington put Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sanctions list. This means that his assets in the U.S. will be frozen, and U.S. citizens and companies are banned from doing business with him.

The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov,  speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, in the first place noted the sanctions imposed on the minister, as it's a new element in the sanctions war, while common sanctions were imposed, prolonged and strengthened more than once.

"With regard to the Iranian Foreign Minister, it's been a long time coming, given Zarif’s vast experience and his international authority. The immediate impetus for the decision was Russia’s promotion of the concept of regional security. Zarif is the most authoritative specialist in regional security in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf in particular. He addressed a number of international forums and sometimes put the representatives of the U.S. and the West in a very difficult position - his speeches on this subject were usually the most interesting, he made concrete proposals, but no one dared to argue with him, but no one wanted to agree with Iran either," the expert said.

Speaking of the prolonged sanctions, he noted that, apparently, the United States was firmly committed to aggravating the situation in the region. "In recent months, the export data for their weapons shows that the realization of promises made by different countries regarding weapon deliveries have seriously slowed down. And the United States wants to push them. I associate all this American fuss with the fact that, according to statistics, U.S. arms deliveries to the region amount 51%, while the U.S. global exports doesn't exceed a third of all arms. The Americans want to keep this role. And this requires more acute situation. Another thing is that they may not succeed in keeping the level of the pre-war situation, and hostilities may break out," the diplomat warned.

"I’m very worried that the Iranians, seeing such unfair U.S. position, are starting to get drawn into the power scenario, trying to show that they will not be intimidated," the expert said.

The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association also suggested that the situation in relations between Washington and Tehran can turn in a positive direction only if there is a serious shift in the balance of power between those who are aggravating the situation and those who are seeking to normalize it. "I haven't seen such positive changes for now," he said.

At the same time, the expert strongly denied that the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election may somehow affect the situation. "The U.S. President is largely determined in his activities by certain centers and forces in the United States," Andrei Baklanov added.