Iranians rally to mark anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover

Trump echoes Game of Thrones as he releases cinematic warning to Iran

In May, Trump stunned the global community by unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Iranian nuclear deal, which was signed under the Obama administration, and by promising to reinstate all the previous sanctions against the Islamic republic.

What's the point?Oil is big business in Iran, with exports accounting for more than a tenth of gross domestic product in 2017.

"In the next weeks all eyes will be on Iranian exports, whether there will be some cheating around USA sanctions, and on how quickly production will fall", said Riccardo Fabiani, an analyst for Energy Aspects.

The sanctions, which take effect on November 5, hit Iran's financial, shipping and energy sectors.

The United States' European allies expressed regret at the Trump administration actions, and resolved to try to keep the deal if Iran continues to comply.

China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have been top importers of Iran's oil; Taiwan occasionally buys cargoes of Iranian crude.

Further details of the United States' decision on Iran sanctions will be released on Monday.

Pompeo said the countries agreed that the payments for the oil will go into offshore accounts that Iran will only be able to tap for "humanitarian trade, or bilateral trade in non-sanctioned goods and services".

"Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.

Iranian students stormed the embassy shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Pompeo said that countries like India, if it gets the exemption, would be asked to bring down their oil imports from Iran to zero in six months' time.

Europe will also seek to "maintain financial channels operational with Iran and to ensure the continuation of Iranian oil and gas exports", it said.

The National Iranian Oil Company has signed a deal with state-owned Zarubezhneft to develop two oil fields, Aban and Paydar-e Gharb, in Iran.

"The maximum pressure we have imposed has caused the rial (currency) to drop dramatically, [President Hassan] Rouhani's cabinet is in disarray, and the Iranian people are raising their voice even louder against a corrupt and hypocritical regime", Pompeo said.

Pompeo said the latest U.S. sanctions are targeted at the regime, not the people of Iran who have suffered grievously under this regime.

In order to allow companies to trade with Iran and not face stiff U.S. penalties, the European Union plans to implement a payment mechanism - a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) - that will enable these companies to avoid the United States financial system.

"So in 2012, not buying Iranian oil and living up to very tough sanctions ... was a way in their mind to avoid a war", Ross said on a call hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy today, referring to the Europeans. "America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years", he said.



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