The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters on Monday that the new sanctions could come in May, a year after Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposed what he called the “toughest” sanctions ever on the Islamic Republic.
“We just want a continued chilling effect,” the official said. “We want businesses to continue to think doing business with Iran is a terrible idea at this point.”
“The more we can do around the anniversary, the better,” the official said, and added that it takes time to put such measures together and that the US Treasury Department was working on them, Press TV reported.
Trump announced in May last year that he was quitting the JCPOA because of what he claimed was Iran’s constant violations.
The first round of the bans – which had been lifted under the nuclear deal -- was re-imposed in August. The US imposed a second round of sanctions against Iran in November.
Iran has vowed resistance in the face of Washington’s economic pressure. It is now in talks with the other five signatories to the deal to help keep the international document alive and blunt the impact of the returning US bans.
The widespread opposition against Washington and the market’s reliance on Iran’s oil has prompted the White House to issue waivers for Tehran’s main oil buyers.
US waging ‘economic terrorism’ against Iran
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the sanctions are “impeding aid efforts by Iranian Red Crescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods. Blocked equipment includes relief choppers.”
He said the US is waging “economic terrorism” against the Islamic Republic by employing restrictive measures that are troubling the relief efforts targeting flood-stricken people across the country.
“This isn't just economic warfare; it's economic TERRORISM,” Zarif added.
Zarif also reminded the world that the economic restrictions, which Washington is deploying against Tehran under the banner of “maximum pressure” is “flouting UNSC Res 2231 & ICJ ruling.”
The nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany as its other signatories. It was ratified in the form of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 after conclusion in Vienna in July 2015.
In October 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s principal judicial organ, ordered in response to a lawsuit filed by Iran that the United States had to halt the unilateral sanctions it has re-imposed on "humanitarian" supplies.
Washington’s refusal to relieve its bans comes as countrywide flooding, unleashed by heavy downpours on Iran since March 19, has killed scores of people and has pushed relief and rescue organizations to the utmost.