US Imposes New Sanctions Against Iran, Claiming ‘Nuclear Escalation’

By Jason Ditz – Antiwar.Com

The US State Department announced today, as it threatened earlier this month, a new round of sanctions against Iran, claiming it was the result of “nuclear escalations.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran announced expansions that had “no credible peaceful purpose.”

The IAEA had earlier informed the US and others that Iran was installing additional centrifuge cascades. The cascades have been installed as an Iranian attempt to get the JCPOA parties to remedy the fact that the signatories of the JCPOA, notably, Germany, France, and Britain, have never honored the sanctions relief that is central to the deal.

In trying to force the talks, Iran has increased uranium enrichment up to 60%, which still falls far short of the 90-95% generally recognized as weapons-grade. So far, the three European nations have just threatened Iran and accused them of not honoring the spirit of the deal. The US, of course, imposes new sanctions regularly although the US left the deal during the Trump administration years ago.

Blinken continues to play up the false allegation of Iran seeking nuclear weapons and presented the sanctions as a US action to preclude that from happening. This, despite reports from the US Director of National Intelligence that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons at all.

The JCPOA was meant to offer Iran substantial sanction relief and a path to international normalization in return for implementing measures in its civilian nuclear program that went far beyond those any other nation has been subjected to. The US, however, blocked the sanctions relief from the beginning, and has continuously threatened Iran ever since.

Iran’s civilian nuclear program is meant to provide fuel for its nuclear energy program and to produce nuclear isotopes for medical purposes. The nation has sought to be as self-reliant as possible because in the past the West has seized its nuclear assets. The JCPOA was also meant to guarantee Iran access to the international market for nuclear fuel.

The new sanctions target three UAE-based companies which are accused of transporting Iranian oil. Since Iran’s economy is heavily reliant on oil exports, blocking such exports is a go-to action for the US when imposing harsh sanctions.

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