USA sanctions on Iran, 'toughest ever,' take force Monday

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf

Part of the explanation lies in the ambiguous position of the U.S., which initially insisted that the sanctions were created to reduce Iranian exports to zero barrels, but has since has softened its position.

Pompeo said earlier on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he was "confident" Iran would not restart its nuclear program with the USA withdrawing from the deal. "The authorities are in direct contact with the competent authorities of the United States, the European Union and Iran", the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

As part of the new round of measures, the White House has warned Iran's customers they must reduce their purchases of oil to zero or face USA penalties, although it has issued 180-day waivers to eight "jurisdictions" that will allow them to continue importing Iranian oil.

However, Iran's clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.

Rouhani pledged to government officials in comments aired on state TV that Iran would overcome the sanctions.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said the Trump administration is committed to reducing Iranian crude imports by its major buyers China and India to "zero" and warned ominously, but without specifics, "watch what we do".

The US stance has already inflicted serious pain on Iranians, with the country's currency, the rial, losing more than two thirds of its value since May. America should learn that it can not use the language of force against Iran ... "We are prepared to resist any pressure", Rouhani said.

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One user tweeted in English: "Over the past 40 years, the Islamic regime of Iran tried to present the USA and Israel as Iran's enemies. The US - and not Iran - is isolated", Zarif said in a tweet.

Trump announced in May his government was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States.

China is a signatory to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - which includes Britain, France, Germany and Russian Federation - that Trump pulled out from earlier this year.

Thousands of Iranians rallied in Tehran on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover, as Washington restored all sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that the biggest loser of all was the U.S.

Mr Trump's administration says it wants a new deal with Iran that curbs its interventions around the Middle East and missile programme - demands that have been flatly rejected by Teheran. The incident made Iran an global pariah and caused a diplomatic schism between the two countries that has remained to this day.

China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have been the top importers of Iran's oil, while Taiwan occasionally buys Iranian crude.

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