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Iran president declares ‘war situation’ in response to US sanctions

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani in the Kremlin (
November 05, 2018

Iran is again ramping up its aggressive rhetoric in light of the latest sanctions from the U.S. that go into effect today.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared a “war situation” on Monday as the U.S. reimposed its final sanctions against Iran on Monday that restrict its oil, banking and shipping, the Associated Press reported.

“We are in the war situation,” Rouhani said. “We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win.”

He further compared the Trump Administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions to that of the dictatorship of Iraq leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.

“Yesterday, Saddam was in front us, today Trump is front of us. There is no difference. We must resist and win,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran began a two-day military drill in its northern territory, which will end Tuesday. State television footage showed surface-to-air missiles successfully striking down a drone. The drill includes Iran’s national army, as well as its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The latest round of sanctions – and the last to be reinstated after they were lifted for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – freezes U.S. assets belonging to entities who continue importing Iranian oil without a waiver.

The sanctions have targeted more than 700 entities in or connected to Iran, including individuals, and even aircraft and vessels. The sanctions are expected to cripple Iran’s economy.

“Today we are re-imposing all sanctions that were previously lifted under the #Iran nuclear deal. This includes sanctions on energy, banking, shipping, and shipbuilding,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday morning.

Eight countries were granted six-month waivers from the Iran sanctions, which permits them to continue doing business with Iran and importing their oil. On Sunday, Pompeo said the countries “need a little bit more time to get to zero,” the Associated Press reported.

The eight nations reportedly consist of China, Greece, India, Italy, Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Pompeo did not say if waiver extensions were permissible.

Pompeo noted the waivers were granted to prevent disrupting global oil markets, allowing purchases to continue while funds for the oil are deposited into an escrow account. From there, Iran can use the revenue to purchase only humanitarian items.

Iran seems confident it will overcome the sanctions.

“Today, Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell,” Rouhani declared.

However, the U.S. has said it will only accept “zero” Iranian oil exports unless it changes its behavior.

“Treasury’s imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to the Associated Press. “The maximum pressure exerted by the United States is only going to mount from here. We are intent on making sure the Iranian regime stops siphoning its hard currency reserves into corrupt investments and the hands of terrorists.”