US's Bolton says more sanctions likely on Iran
AP Photo/Aida Sultanova
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Friday that more sanctions were possible on Iran just days after a new round of measures touted as the most punishing ever on Tehran entered into force.
Bolton said two rounds of unilateral US sanctions introduced by President Donald Trump in August and most recently on Monday had had a "quite significant" effect on the Iranian economy and the country's actions abroad.
"I think that you're going to see even more sanctions coming into play over time and much tighter enforcement of the sanctions," Bolton told reporters in Paris.
Asked what would be the target of the sanctions, he replied, "There are other things we can do in the terrorism and counterterrorism area."
"We've seen indications that it has affected their belligerent activity in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Not enough yet, but it's beginning to have that effect," Bolton said.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commended US President Donald Trump for the re-imposition of sanctions, calling it "a critical blow to Iran's entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen."
Bolton went on to hail the negative impact the sanctions have had on Iran's economy, which the International Monetary Fund forecasts will cause it to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year -- pain that Trump has boasted about.
"We've seen a continuation and exacerbation of political discontent inside Iran. That opposition continues to manifest itself. Economically the Iranian currency is going through the floor, inflation has quadrupled and the country is clearly in recession."
He said "the objective is still to drive Iranians exports of oil to zero" despite waivers given to the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, including China, India and South Korea.
"It's with some satisfaction that I noticed today the price of oil is down. We have worked with the Saudis, the Emiratis, and other producers to make sure production is up so that historic buyers of Iranian oil are not disadvantaged," he added.
Hours before the fresh sanctions were reimposed, thousands of people in Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 hostage-taking at the US embassy by carrying placards mocking Trump and burning American flags and fake dollars.
On Monday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic republic "will proudly bypass sanctions" by the United States, adding that they were "against international regulations."
Last month, the UN's top court ordered the US to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran. The US said the case was "meritless" and only involved a few sanctions.
Decisions by the Hague-based ICJ, which rules on disputes between United Nations members, are binding but it has no mechanism through which it can enforce its decisions.
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