Trump reinstates Iran sanctions, slams 'horrible' nuclear deal

President Trump on Monday renewed sanctions on Iran as he followed through on vows to unravel the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world,” Trump said in a statement.

The move comes three months after Trump pulled out of the deal and is part of an effort to apply “maximum economic pressure” on the regime, according to the administration.

The order drew a swift rebuke from European allies, though, whose foreign ministers said they “deeply regret” the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran. The European Union issued a “blocking statute” Monday to protect European businesses from the sanctions.

A senior administration official told the Associated Press the United States is “not particularly concerned” by such EU efforts to protect European firms.

In a statement Monday, Trump restated his opinion that the 2015 international accord to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions was a “horrible, one-sided deal.” He said it left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

Speaking to reporters en route from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Pompeo said Monday’s re-imposition of some sanctions is an important pillar in U.S. policy toward Iran. He said the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but that would “require enormous change” from Tehran.

“We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

The first set of U.S. sanctions coming back on Monday target Iran’s automotive sector as well as gold and other metals.

A second batch of U.S sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank will be re-imposed in early November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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