All tagged sanctions

EU States Cool on US Blaming Iran for Gulf Tanker Attacks

◢ European states on Monday urged caution in attributing blame for last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf, pointedly refusing to fall in line with Washington's assessment that Iran was behind the incidents. Several EU foreign ministers arriving for talks in Luxembourg backed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' call for an independent investigation into explosions that damaged two tankers.

US Grants Energy-Hungry Iraq New Iran Sanctions Waiver

◢ The United States has granted Iraq another 90-day waiver to continue with vital energy imports from neighboring Iran despite re-imposed sanctions, a government source said Saturday. The extension came after "long discussions" with Washington ahead of a looming deadline on a previous extension granted in December, the official, close to the negotiations, told AFP on condition of anonymity.

US Blacklists Iraq Firm as Revolutionary Guard Guns Front

◢ The US Treasury placed Iraq-based South Wealth Resources on its sanctions blacklist Wednesday, saying the company is an important weapons trafficking and financial front for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Treasury said the company, Manabea Tharwat al-Janoob General Trading Company, was used by the IRGC to smuggle "hundreds of millions of dollars' worth" of weapons to IRGC allies in Iraq. 

With Trump's Blessing, Japan's Abe Looks to Mend Ties With Iran

◢ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a rare friend of both President Donald Trump and Iran’s leaders, left for Tehran with the daunting task of bridging a divide that could plunge the Middle East into renewed chaos. Abe, who spoke to Trump by telephone just ahead of his trip, told reporters that he plans to have a frank exchange of views with Iran’s leader in Japan’s bid to play a role in the stability of the Middle East.

High-Stakes Iran Talks Try to Prevent Atomic Deal Unraveling

◢ Diplomacy intended to salvage the Iran nuclear deal goes into high gear this week after Tehran threatened to follow the U.S. in abandoning the accord. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas landed in Iran’s capital to meet Monday with his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Tehran on Wednesday for more consultations.

US Hits Iran Petrochemical Group PGPIC with Sanctions

◢ The United States has hit Iran's petrochemical group PGPIC with economic sanctions due to its ties with the country's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Treasury Department announced on Friday. The move aims to choke off financing to the country's largest and most profitable petrochemical group and extends to its 39 subsidiaries and "foreign-based sales agents," Treasury said in a statement.

Trump and Macron Say They Have the Same Goals on Iran

◢ U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart in France, Emmanuel Macron, said Thursday that they share the goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. “I don’t think the president wants to see nuclear weapons and neither do I,” Trump told reporters at a meeting with Macron in Caen, France.

Trump Says ‘Always a Chance’ of War With Iran But Prefers Talks

◢ President Donald Trump said there’s “always a chance” of the U.S. taking military action in Iran, though he’d prefer to engage verbally with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “There’s always a chance. Do I want to? No, I’d rather not, but there’s always a chance,” Trump said when asked about the prospect of conflict in an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. “I’d much rather talk.”

US Prepared to Talk to Iran 'With No Preconditions': Pompeo

◢ Washington is willing to speak with Iran "with no preconditions", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday, but stressed his country would continue working to rein in Iran's "malign activity.” “We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them," Pompeo told a news conference in Switzerland.

Iran's Stocks of Nuclear Materials Still Within Limits: IAEA

◢ Iran's stocks of key nuclear materials have increased but are still within the limits set by a 2015 deal with world powers, the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on the matter said Friday. Earlier this month Iran announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

U.S. Warns Europe That Its Iran Workaround Could Face Sanctions

◢ The Trump administration escalated its battle with European allies over the fate of the Iran nuclear accord. Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, signaled in a May 7 letter obtained by Bloomberg that INSTEX the European vehicle to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.

Hong Kong Rejects U.S. Warning on Ship Breaching Iran Sanctions

◢ Hong Kong dismissed U.S. warnings that it could face penalties if it it does business with an oil tanker headed for the city that allegedly violated sanctions on Iran. The city’s government has “strictly” implemented United Nations Security Council sanctions, which don’t impose “any restrictions on the export of petroleum from Iran,” a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said on Wednesday.

U.S. Warns Hong Kong to Avoid Tanker in Breach of Iran Sanctions

◢ The U.S. warned Hong Kong that it could face penalties if it does business with PACIFIC BRAVO, an oil tanker headed for the city that allegedly violated sanctions on Iran. Washington wants to put China and the autonomous city on notice that it will aggressively and consistently enforce its Iran sanctions, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump Says He's Not Looking to Topple Iranian Leadership

◢ U.S. President Donald Trump said he isn’t pursuing regime change in Iran but aims to keep it from developing nuclear weapons, in an apparent effort to tamp down tensions that have led to fears of war. Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership,’’ Trump said at a joint press conference in Tokyo on Monday alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Oman Says It Is Trying to Reduce US-Iran Tensions

◢ Oman said Friday it was trying to reduce spiraling tensions between the Unites States and Iran, as the Pentagon confirmed it was considering deploying more troops to the region. The small but strategically located sultanate, which faces Iran across the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf, has maintained good relations with Tehran throughout successive regional crises.

Iraq Urges Iran to Respect Nuclear Accord

◢ Iraq's top diplomat Friday called on Iran to respect the landmark deal covering its nuclear program, which has been weakened by the US decision to withdraw from it and Tehran's backing away from certain commitments. "We think the JCPOA is a good agreement," said Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim.

India Has Ended Iranian Oil Imports: Envoy

◢ India has ended all imports of oil from Iran, its ambassador in Washington said Wednesday, becoming the latest country to grudgingly comply with threatened US sanctions. India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran and bought one million tons of crude in April, the last month before Washington stepped up its pressure campaign against Tehran and ended all exemptions to oil sanctions.