U.S. moves to tighten sanctions enforcement against Iran – reports

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Biden administration is moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The United States will also send a top-level delegation to UAE to warn banks that have business with Iran, Reuters reported.

Reuters cited a State Department spokesperson as saying the U.S. had evidence of non-compliance, and that the banks could later be sanctioned or penalized over their dealings.

Then-president Donald Trump in 2018 pulled the United States out of a deal in which Iran agreed with major powers that it would curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions.

He reimposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to start violating the nuclear restrictions about a year later.

Wall Street Journal also cited U.S. state and treasury department officials as saying that the delegation would head to the UAE next week.

The delegation would meet with petrochemicals companies and other private firms and banks in the UAE doing billions of dollars of trade with Iran.

They will warn that the U.S. has “visibility on transactions that are not compliant with sanctions”, one of the senior officials told WSJ.

“Those banks and firms face extreme risk if this continues,” the official said.

The visit could be followed by sanctions against Emirati and other firms, the officials was cited as saying.

The U.S. comes as the prospects of restoring the 2015 nuclear deal have shown little advance so far.

If there is no progress in these talks, the United States could send delegations to several other countries to tighten the economic pressure on Iran, the WSJ reported.

The European Union official chairing the talks has said they will resume on Thursday, and the U.S. special envoy for Iran plans to join them over the weekend.

The 2015 agreement gave Iran sanctions relief but imposed strict limits on its uranium enrichment activities, extending the time it would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, if it chose to, to at least a year from around two to three months.

Most nuclear experts say that period is now considerably shorter, according to Reuters.

Underlining how badly eroded the deal is, that pact does not allow Iran to enrich uranium at Fordow at all, let alone with advanced centrifuges.

The UAE, a U.S. ally, has been trying to reduce tensions, sending an official to Tehran last Monday.

Although the UAE and Iran are on different sides of the region’s strategic rivalries, their long-standing business ties have remained one of Iran’s main links to the outside world.

Iran ranked fourth among the UAE’s trade partners by re-export value in the first nine months of this year, according to UAE trade data.

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