'Toughest-ever' punitive measures will hit Iran in big way: Trump

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The US sanctions will hit Iran in a big way from November 5, President Donald Trump has said, asserting that the "toughest-ever" punitive measures have been put in place for a "corrupt regime" in Tehran.

Speaking with the reporters at the White House on Friday before leaving on a campaign trail, Trump said Iran was not the same country which it was when he started almost two years ago.

"Iran is a much different country since I terminated that deal. That was one of the most ridiculous deals ever made by any country, at any time: the Iran nuclear deal," he said.

"They're very serious sanctions. They're very big. They'll be elevated from there. But, as you know, sanctions are starting on Iran and, Iran is taking a very big hit," HE said.

In May, Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as disastrous".

Under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, Iran agreed to stop its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

After the US' withdrawal from the deal, Trump signed fresh sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran over its controversial nuclear weapons programme.

Iran has dismissed these charges and maintains that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

"And just today, we riposted all sanctions that were lifted under that horrible deal. We now have in place the toughest ever sanctions on a corrupt regime in Iran," Trump told his supporters at an election rally in West Virginia.

Earlier in an interview with the Sean Hannity Show, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that Iran was the world's largest state sponsor of terror.

"We're trying to change the ayatollah and Qasem Soleimani's behavior to keep the American people safe and secure. That's the mission, these sanctions are a part of our effort, and they're already being felt by the Iranian leadership," he said.

On Monday, November 5, the US will not only be re-imposing the sanctions that were in place before the crazy Iranian nuclear deal was entered into, but there'll be over several hundred designations, Pompeo said.

"We will ultimately move Iran to zero crude oil. That'll take us some number of months to do that. We've been able to do that in a way that hasn't had a huge impact on crude oil prices. That's a good thing for American consumers," Pompeo said.

However, the US is expected to give a short-term waiver to eight countries which could include India because of its commitment to significantly reduces import of oil from Iran.

The waiver would be granted for six months period and then would be re-evaluated by the United States, Special US Representative on Iran, Brian Hook told reporters.

These eight countries are among the top 20 oil importers from Iran, he told reporters.

"Our goal remains getting countries to zero imports of Iranian oil. In 2019, our projections are that oil supply will exceed demand, and that creates a much better atmosphere for us to bring remaining nations to zero as quickly as possible," Hook said.

"Unlike in prior administrations, we will ensure that the money is not spent on illicit activities, that there isn't any leakage in these escrow accounts, and we will work closely with countries to encourage the sale and purchase of humanitarian goods to benefit the Iranian people.

"Our sanctions regime has very clear exceptions for the sale of food, medicine, and medical devices," he said.


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