Secretary of State Pompeo defends waivers to Iran sanctions

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After unilaterally pulling out of the deal meant to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities earlier this year, the White House said it would reapply sanctions on the country's energy, financial and shipping sectors.

On Sunday, hard-liners vented their rage at a new American president, Donald Trump, who pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal struck by his predecessor that the United Nations said Tehran still honours.

Iran's normally moderate President Hassan Rouhani told a group of state employees on Sunday that it was time to Iran is facing a "war situation" under the new and renewed USA sanctions, but as CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported from Tehran on Monday, he is also vowing that Iran will continue to sell its oil overseas.

With new USA sanctions on Iran just hours away, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that they'll really pack an economic punch.

The US side was unmoved. "They wanted to take over the whole Middle East".

Well, Chris, the sanctions that will be reimposed tomorrow are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran's economy was already suffering from major structural problems - including major banking issues - before Trump walked out of the nuclear deal.

He also said Iranian oil exports had dropped by almost one million barrels a day, choking the main source of funding for the country.

In an interview with the Fox News Sunday program on November 4, Pompeo said the nations receiving waivers "need a little bit more time to get to zero".

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"Constantly they are sending us messages saying 'Let's sit and negotiate.' Negotiations for what?" said Rouhani.

'We are in the economic war situation.

"Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office", Trump said.

The US is seeking to "alter" Iranian behavior with the sanctions, and has been leaking out a stream of 12 demands it wants to see Iran agree to in exchange for re-lifting the economic penalties. The effect of the initial sanctions is already being felt -the rial has plummeted, Iran's economy is depressed and the results are evident. "SWIFT is no different than any other entity, and we have advised SWIFT the Treasury will aggressively use its authorities as necessary to continue intense economic pressure on the Iranian regime", said Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of the Treasury.

South Korea has just confirmed that they have gotten exemption on Iranian oil imports and that they are allowed to continue transactions with the Iranian central bank as well.

India and South Korea do not border Iran, but they both rely heavily on its oil and they are important countries to overall United States interests.

He would not rule out the Trump administration extending the waivers beyond six months.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, demonstrators poured onto the streets to mark the 39 anniversary of the occupation of the USA embassy there, an action that precipitated a protracted hostage standoff that helped tank President Carter's chances at re-election and almost took down the Reagan administration amid the Iran-Contra scandal.

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