US President Donald Trump announces sanctions on Iranian metal exports

United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced new sanctions on Iranian metals. The president’s order covers Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, constituting Tehran’s largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue and 10% of its export economy, the White House said.

“Under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran was free to engage in and sponsor terrorist networks, develop its missile force, foment regional conflicts, unjustly detain US citizens, and brutalize its own people,” Trump said in a statement published by the White House.

He added that Iran had continued to maintain a “robust nuclear infrastructure”, and an extensive nuclear weapons archive when the deal was in force. The United States withdrew from the Barack Obama-era deal in May last year.

The president also warned other countries that the United States will not tolerate the import of Iranian steel and other metals.

“Because of our action, the Iranian regime is struggling to fund its campaign of violent terror, as its economy heads into an unprecedented depression, government revenue dries up, and inflation spirals out of control,” Trump said. He added that Iran should expect further sanctions unless it “fundamentally alters its conduct”.

The president said the US has put forth 12 conditions on the basis of which it can reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran. “I look forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves,” Trump concluded.

Trump’s order came the same day that Iran announced that it has suspended the implementation of some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a letter to ambassadors of France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China (the five other countries who are still part of the deal, said that Iran will stop selling stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water for 60 days.

The Rouhani government claimed that the five countries had failed to take “practical measures” to reduce the impact of the economic sanctions that the US reimposed on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal.

Last month, Trump decided not to renew waivers that allowed eight countries, including India, to buy oil from Iran without facing sanctions. Washington also designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In response, the Iranian Parliament voted to declare the United States military a terrorist organisation.