The White House’s announcement was timed with the one-year anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the previous administration’s Iran nuclear deal. Metals make up 10 percent of the Islamic regime’s exports. After the withdrawal, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and petrochemical exports, the regime’s top source of revenue.
“Because of our action, the Iranian regime is struggling to fund its campaign of violent terror, as its economy heads into an unprecedented depression, government revenue dries up, and inflation spirals out of control,” Trump said in a statement.
“We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today’s action will further strengthen.”
Earlier in May, the Trump administration announced that it will not renew waivers it issued to several nations that have depended on Iranian oil, to clamp down completely on the regime’s oil industry. In April, the administration declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist group.
The United State considers Iran an “outlaw regime,” blaming it for malign activity around the world. Washington accuses Iran’s leaders of being the biggest funders of radical Islamic terrorism.
Trump quit the deal with Iran and several other nations in 2018, saying that the agreement allowed Iran to continue funding terrorism and developing ballistic missiles, among other issues. Israeli intelligence revealed in 2018 that Iran concealed a vast archive of nuclear weapons research in violation of the nuclear deal.
Hours before Trump’s announcement, Iran informed ambassadors from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia of its decision to stop implementing “some commitments” of the Iran deal, officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). A letter from President Hassan Rouhani was delivered to the envoys of countries that are still party to the deal.
The United Kingdom said on May 8 it was extremely concerned about Iran’s announcement and that Tehran would face consequences if it backed away from the deal. Russia blamed the United States for Iran’s walking away from parts of the deal.
“We are extremely concerned about this announcement and urge Iran to continue to meet its commitments under the deal and not to take escalatory steps,” British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said.
The United States put forth 12 demands for Iran upon quitting the JCPOA, asking the regime to shut down its nuclear program, stop enriching plutonium, allow full access to international observers, and halt the development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, among other requests.
“Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,” Trump said. “I look forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States demands the same from all other nations and that Iran is not unique.
Tehran’s rulers have vehemently resisted pressure from the United States. In January, the regime carried out a failed satellite launch, defying a warning from Trump, and in February, Iran tested a new ballistic missile.
Reuters contributed to this report.