Accessibility links

Breaking News

US Slaps New Sanctions on Iran as Tehran Suspends Some Parts of Nuclear Deal


U.S. President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Feb. 6, 2018.

President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions Wednesday on Iran, hours after the Iranian president said he was pulling out of parts of the 2015 nuclear deal struck with world powers.

Trump said in an executive order there would be new sanctions on Iranian metal exports: steel, aluminum, copper and iron.

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, its No. 1 moneymaker, have had a devastating effect on its economy. Iran's metal industry is another major source of income.

WATCH: US Imposes New Sanctions on Iran as Tensions Escalate

US Imposes New Sanctions on Iran as Tensions Escalate
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:11 0:00

"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. "We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today's action will further strengthen. Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct."

Tensions between Iran and the United States have grown in the past week. The Pentagon sent aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers to the region, accusing Iran of threatening U.S forces and planning "imminent" attacks.

Call for European help

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced he was backing out of parts of the nuclear deal and would take further action in 60 days if European nations did not help Iran deal with the effects of U.S. sanctions.

Rouhani said if there was no sanctions relief within 60 days, Iran would resume uranium enrichment at higher levels.

Rouhani's announcement came exactly one year after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the entire nuclear agreement between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, plus the European Union. Under the deal, Iran cut its uranium enrichment in exchange for economic benefits from sanctions relief, which it has yet to see.

"If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal," Rouhani said. "We felt the deal needed surgery and that the yearlong sedatives have not delivered any result. This surgery is meant to save the deal, not destroy it."

For now, Iran will stop selling enriched uranium and heavy water, which it had been doing to reduce its stockpiles.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran's announcement to suspend compliance was "intentionally ambiguous."

"We'll have to wait to see what Iran's actions actually are," Pompeo said in London. "They've made a number of statements on actions they intend to do in order to get the world to jump. We'll see what they actually do."

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook speaks to VOA Persian, Dec. 18, 2018.
U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook speaks to VOA Persian, Dec. 18, 2018.

Brian Hook, a top Pompeo adviser on Iran, accused Iran of "nuclear blackmail."

France and Germany said Wednesday that they were determined to keep the nuclear agreement alive.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said "nothing would be worse than Iran leaving this deal."

Trump called nuclear accord a terrible deal, saying it was only temporary, did nothing about Iranian ballistic missiles and did not punish Iran for what he said was the country's involvement in terrorism and Middle East conflicts.