The United States announced that it has issued a new round of sanctions against Iran, in response to a declaration from Iran’s president that he would begin to walk away from the 2015 nuclear deal if a number of deadlines are not met by other members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The White House announced that it is imposing new sanctions on Iran’s steel, aluminum, iron and copper sectors, which reportedly make up around 10 percent of the country’s exports.
This comes in response to Iran’s declaration that it will begin pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It gave European leaders a series of deadlines and threatened that it will begin accumulating nuclear material if those deadlines are not met.
This is an interesting ultimatum from Iran because it puts the pressure on France, Germany and the UK to choose whether they want to join the U.S. in isolating Iran, or they want to move forward with working with Iran, even at the risk of sanctions from U.S.
The United States is claiming that it is increasing its presence in the Middle East to prepare for a possible attack from Iran. A report citing three anonymous U.S. intelligence officials stated that “The intelligence shows that an Iranian official discussed activating Iranian-backed groups to target Americans, but did not mention targeting the militaries of other nations.”
The officials are reportedly claiming that the U.S. military is now tracking possible missile attacks from small ships in the Persian Gulf and against U.S. should in Yemen. We have yet to see evidence of this, but it is notable at a time when tensions with Iran seem to be escalating all around.
U.S. officials have continued to claim that Iran is increasing threats, and now the idea that they could be pulling out of a deal restricts their military capabilities add fuel to that fire.
The U.S. also announced last month that it will start cracking down on countries that continue to import oil from Iran, despite ongoing sanctions. We have seen the U.S. increase sanctions on Iran, and we have seen Trump Administration officials continue to speak out against Iran—now it looks like the U.S. is putting pressure on its allies to isolate the country altogether.