Official: US Planning New Iran Sanctions, May Cancel Oil Waivers
In a bid to further turn the economic screws on Iran, the United States is considering bolstering sanctions on the Islamic Republic and could go so far as to cancel waivers provided to other countries. These exemptions granted eight nations immunity if they continued to purchase Iranian crude. An official quoted by the Reuters news agency suggested that the new financial penalties could be imposed as early as next month, to coincide with President Donald Trump’s decision last May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at stopping Tehran’s atomic program. Earlier this month, the US Treasury Department announced the sanctioning of 31 Iranian scientists and companies affiliated with the Islamic Republic’s Organization for Defense Innovation and Research, which previously spearheaded the nation’s nuclear progress. State Department representatives attributed the move in part to information obtained from a secret nuclear archive stolen by Israeli spies last year during a covert operation in Tehran. The documents allegedly show that prior to 2003, Iran was actively engaged in military research geared toward developing nuclear arms. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of “economic terrorism,” as American sanctions have resulted in a lack of rescue helicopters that could otherwise help secure tens of thousands of civilians trapped in zones plagued by flooding.