‘Very strong sanctions’ will bring Iran back to negotiations, US treasurer says

Outlining planned restrictions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says new measures are aimed at forcing Tehran to accept tougher nuclear deal

A Boeing 747 of Iran's national airline is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, June 2003. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)
A Boeing 747 of Iran's national airline is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, June 2003. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)

WASHINGTON — With the US withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, the administration’s goal is now to impose tough sanctions that will prompt Tehran to come back to the negotiating table and re-negotiate the agreement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

“These sanctions do impact all the major industries (in Iran). They are very strong sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “They worked last time. That is why Iran came to the table.”

Mnuchin said that the new sanctions would allow countries doing business with Iran to wind down those activities in either 90 or 180 days, depending on the type of products being sanctioned. He said companies doing business in Iran would not be able to generate new business but would be able to wrap up existing contracts.

“I don’t expect we will need more time to deal with these issues,” Mnuchin told reporters.

The Treasury secretary said that the sanctions will also sharply curtail sales of oil by Iran, which is currently the world’s fifth-largest oil producer. In the case of oil sales, there will be a 180-day period for countries to wrap-up existing contracts and achieve “significant reductions” in their purchases of crude from Iran.

Mnuchin, however, declined to spell out what the administration would consider as a “significant reduction” in purchases of Iranian oil. US law gives the Treasury secretary the power to administer sanctions imposed by the president.

He said he did not expect oil prices to rise sharply because he sees other countries boosting production.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin holds a press conference during the IMF/World Bank spring meeting in Washington, DC on April 21, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

The US withdrawal will also mean that airplane manufacturer Boeing will have its licenses to sell billions of dollars in commercial jetliners to Iran revoked, Mnuchin said.

The existing licenses held by Chicago-based Boeing Co. and its European competitor, Airbus Group, would be invalidated by US President Donald Trump’s decision, he explained.

“The existing licenses will be revoked,” Mnuchin told reporters.

Boeing said it would consult with the government on what comes next. “As we have throughout this process, we’ll continue to follow the US government’s lead,” the company said.

Airbus, which is subject to the US license because of its use of American-made parts in its aircraft, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new sanctions against Iran will allow for certain exemptions and waivers to be negotiated, but Mnuchin wouldn’t discuss what products or countries might qualify for waivers.

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