7th August 2018 - The United States today reinstated certain economic sanctions against Iran as a result of leaving the 2015 nuclear accord, with President Donald Trump calling for a more comprehensive deal to bring an end to Tehran’s nuclear program.

The first round of reimposed sanctions, signed by Trump yesterday, covers Iran’s transactions in the auto sector, trade in coal, aluminum and precious metals, and cash dealings involving U.S. dollars. Businesses of third-party countries, including Japan, can be penalized for not complying with the sanctions.

“The United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” Trump said in a statement issued last night.

The Trump administration is set to reimpose other sanctions in November targeting the oil sector, a chief support of Iran’s economy. Sanctions on Iranian oil imports are feared to damage Japan as the country depends on Iran for about 5 percent of its oil imports.

Industry officials said Japan foresees no problem in importing oil in a stable manner as it has other suppliers, including Saudi Arabia.

But the price of gasoline and of a range of other oil products could go up in Japan if it starts to import more crude from other countries, one official said. And those price increases in turn could dampen consumption spending and overall business activity.

The U.S. is reimposing sanctions after Trump in May announced the U.S. withdrawal from a multilateral nuclear accord under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Sanctions signed by Donald Trump yesterday

Sanctions signed by Donald Trump yesterday

The accord was signed by Tehran and six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States under Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump called the accord “a horrible, one-sided deal” that “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”

But he also said that, while the United States will “continue applying maximum economic pressure” on the Iranian government, Washington will “remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism.”

Trump said last week he is willing to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions to discuss strained bilateral ties, telling a news conference in Washington, “If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want.”

Yesterday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reacted sharply to the latest U.S. action, saying in a TV interview that Washington should stop threatening Tehran and revoke all sanctions if Trump is serious about a dialogue.

“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,” Rouhani is quoted as saying.

According to the U.S. government, nearly 100 companies in the financial, energy and other sectors have expressed intentions to leave the Iranian market in line with the U.S. sanctions.

In Tokyo, Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said the government will continue consultations with the United States so that the sanctions do not have a negative impact on Japanese companies.

Seko also told a press conference that the government “will carefully analyze more than ever what kind of impact (the sanctions) would have on (oil prices).”