More sanctions likely on Iranian regime, says US national security adviser

US National Security Adviser John Bolton vows no letup in punitive measures against Iran. (AFP file photo)
Updated 10 November 2018
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More sanctions likely on Iranian regime, says US national security adviser

  • Bolton says two rounds of unilateral US sanctions had had a “quite significant” effect on the Iranian economy and the country’s actions abroad
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year

PARIS: US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that more sanctions were possible on Iran just days after a new round of measures touted as the most punishing ever on Tehran entered into force.

Bolton said two rounds of unilateral US sanctions introduced by President Donald Trump in August and most recently on Monday had had a “quite significant” effect on the Iranian economy and the country’s actions abroad.

“I think that you’re going to see even more sanctions coming into play over time and much tighter enforcement of the sanctions,” Bolton said in Paris.

Asked what would be the target of the sanctions, he replied: “There are other things we can do in the terrorism and counterterrorism area.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year — pain that Trump has boasted about.

“We’ve seen indications that it has affected their belligerent activity in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Not enough yet, but it’s beginning to have that effect,” Bolton said.

“We’ve seen a continuation and exacerbation of political discontent inside Iran. That opposition continues to manifest itself. Economically the Iranian currency is going through the floor, inflation has quadrupled and the country is clearly in recession.”

He said “the objective is still to drive Iranians exports of oil to zero” despite waivers given to the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, including China, India and South Korea.

“It’s with some satisfaction that I noticed today the price of oil is down. We have worked with the Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other producers to make sure production is up so that historic buyers of Iranian oil are not disadvantaged,” he added.

Bolton spoke as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that US sanctions have had no effect on Iran’s economy because Washington had already practically reimposed them earlier.

“The sanctions have had no impact on our economy because America had already used all the weapons at its disposal and there was nothing new to use against us,” Rouhani said in remarks carried live on state television on Saturday.

“They just issued a long list of banks, their branches ... and airlines and their planes. And this shows that they are merely trying to affect the Iranian nation psychologically,” Rouhani said.

The US said it would temporarily allow eight importers to keep buying Iranian oil when it reimposed sanctions last Monday aimed at forcing Tehran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

“It has now become clear that America cannot cut Iran’s oil exports to zero,” Rouhani added, speaking after a weekly meeting with the heads of the parliament and the judiciary.


Libyan militia declares ‘zero hour’ for capturing Tripoli

Updated 50 min 45 sec ago
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Libyan militia declares ‘zero hour’ for capturing Tripoli

  • The Libyan National Army called on the young people of Tripoli to work with its forces
  • The internationally-recognized government in Tripoli issued a statement saying it had gathered intelligence about possible airstrikes by LNA forces

CAIRO: The self-styled Libyan National Army is declaring “zero hour” in its offensive to capture the capital, Tripoli, from the UN-backed government.
The LNA, led by commander Khalifa Haftar, called on the young people of Tripoli to work with its forces, via a post on its Facebook page published early Saturday.
Meanwhile, the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli issued a statement saying it had gathered intelligence about possible airstrikes by LNA forces against key sites in the capital, including the only functioning airport.
The Government of National Accord in Tripoli said Friday it had intelligence suggesting airstrikes against the capital by Haftar’s allies — including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France — were likely.
Libya sank into chaos after Muammar Qaddafi’s 2011 ouster and is now divided between rival administrations.