U.S. officials vow to intensify Iran sanctions in 2020

December 31, 2019 - 21:25

TEHRAN — U.S. State Department officials have said Washington’s maximum pressure policy against Iran will intensify in 2020.

“There will be more sanctions to come, and Iran’s economic problems and challenges are going to compound in 2020,” a senior State Department official said Monday, according to CNBC.

“They are already deep into a recession, and we are also seeing Iran come under greater diplomatic isolation.”

Another senior State Department official was quoted by CNBC as saying that the Trump administration has sanctioned approximately 1,000 individuals and entities.

“What we are doing is denying the regime the revenue that it needs to run an expansionist foreign policy, and by that policy, Iran has less money to spend today than it did almost three years ago when we came into office,” the official said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has adopted a maximum pressure policy against Iran since he walked away from the JCPOA. The policy includes sanctions on Iran’s economy, especially its oil exports, and bans on top Iranian figures and organizations. At the same time, the U.S. president has pushed for talks with Tehran.

Iranian leaders have openly rejected the notion of talks with the U.S. as long as its illegal sanctions against Tehran are in place.

Under the JCPOA, Iran had agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.

Tehran has described the U.S. sanctions as “economic terrorism”. 

Trump himself has used the term “economic war” on Iran.

On Monday, U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook also emphasized that the Trump administration will continue its maximum pressure campaign in 2020.

Hook said the Islamic Republic is facing the worst financial crisis and political unrest in its 40-year history and in 2020 will face an even more difficult period.

“What we saw was an erosion of deterrence of Iran for the many years preceding president’s election three years ago,” he said, according to Radio Farda. 

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the enemies have realized that they cannot bring Iran to its knees through maximum pressure.

“Their entire goal was to get us to the negotiating table so that we resign ourselves to whatever demand they have, but this is impossible in our Islamic Iran,” Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying.

Washington is engaged in an all-out economic war against the Islamic Republic, Rouhani said, adding, “It is wartime now and we haven’t either chosen or begun this war.”

The president added, “We have not even given a pretext for this war.”

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