‘Lift sanctions & apologize if you want to talk,’ Iran’s Rouhani tells Washington

The US should first drop sanctions and apologize, if it wants to sit down for negotiations, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, after Washington stepped up “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

“Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.

He stated that Tehran is open to talks with Washington, but the US is simply “not ready for any dialogue” and only seeks to “subdue the people of Iran.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, said that the country will thwart any attempts of the US to block its oil trade.

U.S.'s efforts to boycott the sale of Iran's oil won't get them anywhere. We will export our oil as much as we need and we intend. They should know that their hostile measure won't be left without a response. Iranian nation does not sit idle in the face of animosities.

“The efforts to boycott the sale of Iran’s oil won't get them anywhere. We will export our oil as much as we need and we intend,” Khamenei wrote on Twitter.

They should know that their hostile measure won’t be left without a response.

The warning came after US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that Washington will stop issuing sanction waivers for the buyers of Iranian oil. It was done as part of the campaign to apply “maximum pressure” on Tehran, he said.

Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime means maximum pressure. That’s why the U.S. will not issue any exceptions to Iranian oil importers. The global oil market remains well-supplied. We’re confident it will remain stable as jurisdictions transition away from Iranian crude.

The two states remained in a diplomatic standoff after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program last year. The US then re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors.

Iran blasted the sanctions as illegal under international law and vowed to retaliate should Washington make moves to attack its oil shipment.

Earlier this month, the US listed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization.” Tehran responded in kind by doing the same with the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

Also on rt.com ‘A whole new phase of confrontation’: New Revolutionary Guards head shows Iran readying for conflict

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Norwegian airliner stranded in Iran for 60 DAYS (and counting) due to US sanctions

A Norwegian commercial airliner which made an emergency landing in Iran in December is still waiting for replacement parts it needs to fly home – components which have been blocked due to sanctions unilaterally imposed by the US.

Norwegian Air flight DY1933 – which ferries passengers between Dubai and Oslo – was forced to make an emergency landing in Shiraz, Iran, on December 14 after experiencing engine trouble. The unscheduled detour went smoothly enough: the plane landed safely, and passengers were able to catch a flight out of Shiraz the following day. The plane itself, however, has remained stranded in Iran due to a lack of spare parts: US sanctions prohibit importing technology into Iran that has more than 10 percent of American-made parts.

Also on rt.com EU countries move to evade US’ Iran sanctions by setting up payment channel for ‘humanitarian’ trade...

While it’s possible that Norwegian Air could receive a one-time exemption from the US Treasury Department to import the necessary engine parts, a lawyer who works on sanctions-related issues told NPR that it was a “long shot.”

Ironically, the US sanctions meant to deprive Iran of modernizing and integrating into the global economy may actually backfire in this case: If the Iranians so choose, they could seize the Boeing 737 – which is likely filled with sanctions-restricted technology.

Last year, Washington unilaterally re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Tehran after pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Germany, France and the UK announced in January that they had set up a new payment system which can bypass US sanctions and facilitate “legitimate trade.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in November that there would be “swift punishment” for any countries caught doing business with Iran.

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Iran: New European Initiatives for Non-Dollar Trade to Come

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini announced, in September, the establishment of a legal entity that would facilitate business between Iran and international trading partners.

On Wednesday, Iran praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran despite U.S. sanctions, citing discussions to conduct non-dollar trade. "We had constructive meetings with British and French officials and nuclear negotiators in Tehran," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, in a tweet, on the occasion of the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's visit.

RELATED: US: Sanctions on Russia, Iran to Curb Oil Shipments to Syria

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump's Administration reimposed sanctions on Iran in an attempt to prevent the entry of financial resources for the country. As a reaction to the sanctions, the European Union’s (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini announced, in September, the establishment of a legal entity that would facilitate business between Iran and international trading partners.

The “Special Purpose Vehicle” (SPV) system was conceived of as a barter-based system to avoid handling dollars by keeping "credit" records.

“If Iran exports crude oil to a French company,” according to an Al Bawaba report, “[that] company would register an agreed amount of “credit” with the SPV. Iran could then arrange to import goods from an Italian company, and that company could claim back the credit from the SPV as payment. Technically, this translates to no dollars changing hands with Iranian companies.

A French delegation was also in Tehran, on Wednesday, to meet with Araghchi, who commented that "the EU and the three European countries are still determined to save the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) [nuclear deal]. New initiatives are being designed for the SPV."

The Iranian foreign ministry's spokesman said that Iran had not yet given up hope on the mechanism.

"We have not been able yet to finalize the (SPV) issue to facilitate Iran's purchase of essential goods, and business with small and medium-sized enterprises," Bahram Qasemi said.

However, the United States' stance has not changed.

Recently, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, threatened to sanction European banks and companies that are or become associated with the SPV.

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Rouhani to Trump: 'We Will Defeat You'

The United States' reimposed sanctions on Iran will not be tolerated, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who says, "The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect."

The United States has chosen the wrong path in reimposing sanctions on Iran and will be defeated, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

RELATED: US Reimposes Iran sanctions, Tehran Slams Trump's 'Bullying'

Washington reinstated sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry on Nov. 5 as it seeks to force the Islamic Republic to accept tougher curbs on its nuclear program, halt its development of ballistic missiles as well as its support for proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

"The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect," Rouhani said. "If they are being honest and they are looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path."

He added, "They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of our people. It's clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of America will harm the dear and honorable people of our country."

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to step up enforcement of sanctions on Iran and "squeeze them very hard."

President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions after he withdrew the United States from world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office.

The other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other powers preserve its economic benefits against U.S. pressure.

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US sanctions hit Iranian cancer patients struggling to get life-saving meds

US sanctions are driving up the cost of cancer treatment in Iran, patients and doctors say – as restrictions reimposed on Tehran by Washington make it harder to buy life-saving medication and equipment.

Ali Shokri, a Tehran resident battling cancer, had his second round of chemotherapy after the US sanctions kicked in. The cost of each session jumped from 10 million Rial ($240) to 20 million ($475), Ali told Ruptly video agency on Monday, adding that the price hike isn’t the only problem cancer patients now face.

“The drugs can’t be found easily like before, and we have to look for them several times in different pharmacies.”

Marjan Shirazi, whose husband suffers from cancer, said that the drugs that used to be available before sanctions have now become “more expensive and rarer.”

The US assurance that the restrictions are meant to hurt the Iranian government is “an absolute lie” since the pressure from them “is directed on people as well,” she told Ruptly.

Doctors are stressing that punitive measures against Tehran make it harder – and in some cases completely impossible – to import supplies required for life-saving treatment. “When they impose sanctions on our banks, the money can’t be transferred easily to a foreign country to buy medications,” noted Ali Kazemian, who runs the Cancer Institute at the Imam Khomeini Medical Center. The doctor noted the US sanctions often block the imports of vital medical equipment.

Washington reinstated sanctions on the country after President Donald Trump had pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program – a move condemned by the EU, Russia and China, who are also signatories of the deal. The first round of restored sanctions was enacted in April, while the second lot came into force last week. The sanctions target Iran’s oil, banking and shipping industries.

READ MORE: Iranian central bank disconnected from SWIFT messaging – US treasury

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, said that the sanctions have “no impact” on the national economy. Officials in Tehran are pledging to continue oil production and foreign trade, as well to defend the country’s traditional shipping routes.

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Iran: US Sanctions Hasn't Halted Oil Sales

The Trump administrations' attempt to hinder Persian oil exports has failed.

Despite US sanctions, Iran has sold all its oil, said the first vice president of the Persian country, Eshaq Yahanquiri.

RELATED: US Reimposes Iran sanctions, Tehran Slams Trump's 'Bullying'

"The Americans say they will reduce the sale of Iranian oil to zero, but I must say that, to date, we sold all the quantities of oil we needed," he said.

Yahanquiri denounced the U.S. governments' committment to damaging the Iranian economy with a psychological war.

"No government in Europe, Africa and Asia support US sanctions, except Israel and a couple of countries in the region," said the Iranian vice-president.

The Trump administration restored economic sanctions against Iran on Nov.5, seeking thus to reduce drain the Iranian government's main source of revenue. This new wave of sanctions is also aimed at breaking the Iranian banks' ties with the international financial system.

Although the U.S. goal was to reduce Iranian oil exports to "zero," economic interdependencies forced Trump to backtrack and break his promise.

In the near future Persian oil exports could even increase as the Trump administration granted 'waivers' to China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey. These countries, who are Iran's biggest energy clients, will be able to buy the Persian oil for another 180 days.

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United States Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

Washington, Nov 5 (Prensa Latina) More than 700 individuals, entities, ships and aircraft from Iran, mostly in the banking and energy sectors,
will be the target of additional U.S. sanctions since Monday.

Likewise, due to these measures, rejected by Iran , other areas such as maritime transport and naval construction will be affected.

Such punishments will follow similar ones applied last August as a result of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the nuclear pact reached between Tehran and six world powers in 2015.

Transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and Iran's designated financial institutions will be sanctioned as part of the entry into force of the regulations.

A statement released three days ago by the White House added that Trump's administration intends to fully enforce all U.S. restrictions against Iran and will prosecute those who attempt to violate or elude them.

Those who have failed to reduce sanctionable activities with Iran are at risk of serious consequences, threatened the text , according to which Washington has already issued 19 rounds of punishments and designated 168 individuals associated with Iran.

The document stated that Iranian oil exports had dropped by approximately one million barrels per day since their peak in June, and more than 20 countries had reduced imports of this fuel to zero.

For his part, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last Friday in a conference call that some jurisdictions will be exempted from the measures, 'but only because we have seen an effort and they are reducing their imports of oil from Iran,' he added.

He did not specify the countries or groups of states to receive those exceptions, but said an agreement was reached with six jurisdictions and talks continue with another two.

Since his inauguration on 20 January 2017, Trump threatened to abandon the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (Jcpoa) signed by Iran and the 5+1 Group (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China and Germany), and finally announced that move on May 8.

This determination, criticized by various sectors domestically and abroad, paved the way for the reestablishment of punishments, although the International Atomic Energy Agency, allied nations and the US intelligence community indicated that Iran continued to respect the Jcpoa commitments.

Trump has discredited what remained of prestige to the United States and will be the main loser of the reinstatement of sanctions, considered two days ago the leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ali Khamenei.

Quoting a speech in Tehran, he wrote on Twitter that US economic and military power is also in decline.

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International court of Justice Orders US to Ease Iran Sanctions

The court's decision is seen as a victory for Tehran who argues that sanctions imposed since May by the U.S. administration violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.

The World Court ordered the United States on Wednesday to ensure that sanctions against Iran do not impact humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.

Judges at the International Court Of Justice handed a victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.

The ruling is likely to have at most limited practical impact on the implementation of sanctions, which Washington is reimposing and tightening after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers.

The court order issued on Wednesday is temporary pending a resolution of Iran's full lawsuit against Washington by the ICJ, something that could take years.

The ICJ is the United Nations' highest court for resolving disputes between nations. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them, and both the United States and Iran have ignored them in the past.

Washington argued last month that Iran's request was an attempt to misuse the court and that the 1955 treaty specifically ruled out using courts to resolve disputes.

The treaty was signed long before Iran's 1979 Revolution which turned the two countries into arch foes.

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