KONFRONTASI-Iran said it would defy U.S. sanctions reimposed on it by Washington on Monday, denouncing as “economic war” the U.S. attempt to curb Tehran’s missile and nuclear programs and weaken its influence in the Middle East.
The U.S. move restores sanctions lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama and five other world powers. It adds 300 new designations in Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors.
European powers which continue to back the nuclear deal said they opposed the reimposition of sanctions and major oil buyer China said it regretted the move.
The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to force Iran to further limit its nuclear work and to halt and missile program as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
Switzerland said it is holding talks with the United States and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help food and drugs keep flowing to Tehran.
U.S. sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals, but measures imposed on banks and trade restrictions could make such items more expensive.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the penalties set to return on Monday “are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
However, Iran’s clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.
“Today the enemy (the United States) is targeting our economy...the main target of sanctions is our people,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.