Sanctions beckon as Trump cannot resist pulling down the Iran nuclear deal

Published in GSN, 11 May 2018

A new countdown has begun for Iran’s relations with the world. Following President Donald Trump’s heavily telegraphed 8 May decision that the United States would no longer honour its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US is set to reinstate the sanctions on Iran it dropped in January 2016 when the nuclear deal was implemented.

The embargo will be implemented in two stages. Sanctions on the oil and gas, petrochemicals and shipping sectors, as well as measures against Bank Markazi-ye Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran (Central Bank of Iran), will be re-imposed in 180 days, on 4 November. Other sanctions will return even more quickly, after a 90-day ‘wind down’ period that ends on 6 August. These measures include dealings in the Iranian rial and sovereign debt, trade in gold and other metals and sanctions on the automotive sector. Some 600 Iranians are set to be added to the US Treasury’s list of specially designated nationals (SDNs)

As a result, Iran and the other five JCPOA signatories – France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China – have just a few months to put in place structures that could enable them to keep the deal alive in the face of US opposition and a deteriorating regional situation, which was underlined by Israel’s bombing of Iranian targets in Syria on 10 May.

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