President Donald Trump tweeted this morning that his administration has imposed “biting sanctions” against Iran as the regime continues to face protests from fed-up citizens.

Sanctions

These are the first sanctions against Iran since Trump removed America from the Iranian nuclear agreement. From The Washington Examiner:

It marked the end of a 90-day “wind-down” period given to companies doing business with Iran.

Trump’s move banned transactions with U.S. dollar banknotes, blocks transactions with Iran’s auto sector, and prohibits the sale or transfer of steel and coal to or from Iran. A second “wind-down” period will end Nov. 4, when another round of sanctions are expected to be placed on oil sales and Iran’s energy sector.

A person within the administration “told Fox News these restored sanctions are designed to constrict the revenue Iran uses to fund ‘terrorists, dictators, proxy militias, and the regime’s own cronies.'”

The sanctions “target Iran’s dealing in U.S. dollars, its currency abroad and business in precious metals, aluminum, steel, coal and its auto industry.”

Over at Cheddar, Kassy Dillon explained that the Iranian regime uses the money on terror.

Iran Responded

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani insisted the new sanctions means Trump’s administration has “turned their back on diplomacy.” From the BBC:

“They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation.” Mr Rouhani said. “Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense. We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks… but talks need honesty,”

He also accused the Trump administration of using Iran as domestic political leverage ahead of November’s midterm elections in the United States.

Rouhani also said that the administration has “to demonstrate it can be trusted” before he goes into negotiations. The Times of Israel reported:

“If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.”

“How do they show they are trustworthy? By returning to the JCPOA,” he said, using the technical name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rouhani fell back on the rhetoric of many of his predecessors by referencing the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew Iran’s elected prime minister and cemented the shah’s rule.

“I have no pre-conditions” for negotiating with America “if the US government is ready to negotiate about paying compensation to the Iranian nation from 1953 until now,” Rouhani said. “The US owes the Iranian nation for its intervention in Iran.

Response From Israel, Europe

Israel cheered the Trump administration’s decision, according to The Times of Israel:

In Israel, the reimposition of US sanctions was lauded as a historic turning point that could ultimately lead to the Islamic Republic’s downfall, with senior officials calling on other countries to follow suit.

“It symbolizes the determination to curb Iran’s regional aggression and its ongoing plans to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu in a video released Monday, moments after Trump signed new sanctions into law.

Europe whined about the new sanctions:

“We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany said in a joint statement, using the nuclear deal’s technical name.

“The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian program remains exclusively peaceful,” the statement went on. “It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world.”

Hanif Jazayeri with the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) had some harsh words for Europe:

Kelly Jane Torrance agreed with Jazayeri’s tweet:

People have tried hard to blame America for the hardships facing the Iranian people. A question from the BBC tried to push senior administration officials into saying the blame lies on America, but they refused to cave. It seems like the BBC Persian Service reporter echoed the thoughts of the regime:

The first senior administration official said, “I think the blame for the situation is perfectly clear. It lies within the Iranian regime that has systematically destroyed that beautiful country over the last four decades.”

The other two administration officials agreed. The second one reminded everyone that Iran “uses its commercial aviation to carry people and weapons into the gray zone to help advance the goals of the Shia militias and proxies operating around the region.”

The third official said that we know “Iran systematically uses its aviation sector, including Mahan Air and a number of other airlines that we have designated to continue to further its malign activity.”

Protests in Major Cities Against Regime, Not America

I blogged about the Iranian protests last Friday, which included audio of citizens chanting, “Our enemy is right here. They’re lying when they say it’s America.”

The Iranian people are not stupid. They know its the oppressive regime that has caused the economy to collapse and devaluation of the currency. They know the regime caused so many of them to live in poverty, not America.

NRCI published this update on Monday (emphasis mine):

On Sunday, August 5, on the 112th anniversary of the Constitutional Revolution, despite the undeclared martial law and the heavy presence of repressive forces who had surrounded the 1st Circle of Gohardasht of Karaj, the brave youth demonstrated below the “Shohada” bridge around midnight, and by chanting “Death to the Dictator”, caught the regime by surprise.

In Tehran, despite the siege of the central parts of the city, frustrated people gathered in different places. The brave youth demonstrated and chanted “Death or Freedom” on the Kargar-Jonoubi street. The repressive forces consisting of the Guards, Basijis, the riot guards and plainclothes agents brutally attacked the protesters and battered them.

Demonstrations in the Park-e Shahr of Tehran led to clashes with suppressive forces. The people confronted them while chanting: Rascals, Rascals! A number of protesting girls and boys were arrested.