More U.S. sanc­tions on Iran likely, Bolton says

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

PARIS: U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton said Fri­day 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 U.S. sanc­tions in­tro­duced by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Au­gust and most re­cently Mon­day 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 told re­porters 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 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 Saudis, the Emi­ratis and other pro­duc­ers to make sure pro­duc­tion is up so that his­toric buy­ers of Ira­nian oil are not dis­ad­van­taged,” he added. –

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