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09 August 2018, 12:06 | Glen Norman
TENSE IN TEHRAN: The President Slams Iran With 'MOST BITING SANCTIONS EVER IMPOSED'
North Korean state media lashed out at the US on Monday for its determination to maintain sanctions against the DPRK while negotiations on its nuclear program are ongoing, describing it as the "tragicomedy of the century".
The North Korean foreign minister on Wednesday was quoted as describing the new measures as "inappropriate and contrary to global standards".
Iran is a key supplier of natural gas and oil to Turkey, which is nearly 100-percent dependent on fuel imports.
"These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level".
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Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work. Downing also asked Gates if he had submitted personal expenses to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee.
Among those that have suspended plans to invest in Iran are France's oil major Total, its big carmakers PSA and Renault, and their German rival Daimler. At current market rates, the imports are worth some $15 billion a year. Turkey buys an estimated 9.5bn cubic metres of gas from Iran.
European countries have also vowed to protect the nuclear deal by continuing to trade with Iran.
Gholamali Khoshroo argues in a commentary published by the Guardian on Wednesday that by abrogating a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal and imposing new sanctions on foreign companies doing business with Iran, the Trump administration is also reneging on UNSC resolution 2231.
Since it unilaterally pulled out of the deal in May, Washington has told other countries that they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4, or face U.S. financial measures.
US President Donald Trump announced the ban on Twitter on Monday, writing: "The Iran sanctions have officially been cast".
Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News that the USA policy "is not regime change, but we definitely want to put maximum pressure on the government".
"Isolating Iran could boost radical and fundamentalist forces", he said, adding that "chaos in Iran, as we have experienced in Iraq or Libya, would further destabilise an already troubled region".
North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on Wednesday met with the Iranian President in Tehran on the second day of an ongoing trip to the country, Iranian state news outlets reported, with Rouhani stressing the DPRK should not place excessive trust in American commitments.
However, a senior U.S. official said it was "not particularly concerned" by the move because many major firms had already announced they were pulling out of Iran.
"NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE", Trump wrote.
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Trump later walked back the remark and said he trusted the US intelligence community's assessment Moscow did interfere. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters earlier in the week that he wanted "a sanctions bill from hell".
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