Secretary of State Michael Pompeo defended the temporary waivers granted to eight countries to continue buying Iranian crude oil for now against Congressional critics and others who say the U.S.is being too lenient on the Islamic Republic.
US President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, citing failures to uphold its end of the deal. "Iran is a much different country since I terminated that deal". But "Iran has weathered multiple rounds of sanctions before".
While in a dramatic escalation of rhetoric, the Iranian President said the country now faces a "war situation".
Among the anniversary events was an exhibition of cartoons in Tehran called "Donald Salman" - a reference to the close ties between the USA president and King Salman, ruler of Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia. "The new sanctions might prove to be costly if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with spare production capacity, is unable or unwilling to put more oil in the market". "The challenge between the USA and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far and the U.S. has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare", he said.
The Trump administration's decision to restore sanctions "is the sea change the Middle East has been waiting for", he said. The effect of the initial sanctions is already being felt -the rial has plummeted, Iran's economy is depressed and the results are evident.
On Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for reimposing the sanctions.
Iran has greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions with air defence drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a "war situation".
Thousands joined rallies in Tehran and other cities, carrying placards that mocked President Donald Trump, wiping their feet on fake dollar bills, and engaging in the usual ritual of burning the United States flag. In fact, the United States has indicated intent of supplying $2.5-3 billion oil and gas at short notice if India needed it to meet the shortfall arising out of cut in Iranian oil imports.
According to Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates, trade wars are also playing their part in deflating energies demand: "The magnitude of recent selling is strongly suggesting that global oil demand is weaker than expected as a result of tariff issues, especially between the US and China".
And Pompeo said that any Iranian banks involved in "sanctionable behaviour will be sanctioned by the Department of Treasury, period, full stop".
He added that Iran must meet 12 demands in order to see the sanctions lifted, including ending its support of its terror proxies in Syria and stopping its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
They are reported to include United States allies Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, along with Turkey, China and India. The sanctions to be imposed today target Iran's oil, shipping, energy and banking sectors.