The Trump administration further spelled out this week the draconian sanctions it intends to enforce on Iran. A senior State Department official told the media the US would take measures against any country that failed to reduce its oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 4.

Companies that fail to meet the deadline face the prospect of being excluded from the US financial system. While not completely ruling out waivers, the US official said there were unlikely to be any exemptions for corporations buying oil from Iran. The predisposition of the Trump administration, the official said, is: “No, we’re not going to do waivers.”

The announcement follows Trump’s decision on May 8 to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it was signed with the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. Under the JCPOA, Tehran agreed to drastic curbs on its nuclear programs in return for a step-by-step easing of international sanctions.

Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) repeatedly verifying that Iran kept its side of the bargain, the Trump administration tore up the deal. Washington wants to force Iran to fall into line with US policy throughout the Middle East, and end its nuclear and missile programs.

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