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US reimposes sanctions on Iran

The move comes three months after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on Iran.

The moves comes three months after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, with Mr Trump saying his policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.

Mr Trump said the 2015 international accord to freeze Iran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions was a “horrible, one-sided deal” and said it left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

“We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, de-stabilising behaviour and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation,” Mr Trump said.

He warned that those who do not wind down their economic ties to Iran “risk severe consequences” under the reimposed sanctions.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said renewed US sanctions on Iran will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

Speaking to reporters en route from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Mr Pompeo said the reimposition of some sanctions is an important pillar in US policy towards Iran.

He said the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but that would “require enormous change” from Tehran.

“We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

European foreign ministers said they “deeply regret” the reimposition of US sanctions.

A statement by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom insisted that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear programme.

The ministers said the Iran deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world”.

A senior administration official said the United States is “not particularly concerned” by EU efforts to protect European firms from the reimposition of sanctions.

The European Union issued a “blocking statute” to protect European businesses from the impact of the sanctions.

The official says the US will use the sanctions aggressively and cited Iran’s severe economic downturn this year as evidence the sanctions would prove to be effective despite opposition from the EU, China and Russia.

Mr Pompeo called the Iranian leadership “bad actors” and said Mr Trump is intent on getting them to “behave like a normal country”.

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