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While the embargo brought into force on Monday may have been meant to deter a potential agreement, Mr Biden could benefit from it when it comes to the negotiations. The sanctions on Iran’s oil sector imposed by the Trump administration come as tensions between the two countries continue to mount.
The Treasury Department unveiled the sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company and its oil-tanker subsidiary for financially backing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The elite military force in considered a terrorist organisation in the US.
Announcing the move in a statement, Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “The regime in Iran uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilising activities of the IRGC-QF.
“The Iranian regime continues to prioritise its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people.”
Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations condemned the move.
He said: “The US’s hostility towards the Iranian people has no limit.
“The US is sanctioning Iranian entities that have already been sanctioned under another phony charge.
“However, the US’s addiction to sanctions has not paid off.”
Mr Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden vowed to negotiate a potential re-entry if he wins the upcoming election.
However, the discussions would entail lifting a number of embargoes brought in by President Trump.
Brian O’Toole, a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, raised concerns about Mr Biden’s potential agreement.
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He said: “It makes it more politically perilous for Biden.
“Essentially, ‘the US is giving up a lot more than Iran is giving up’ is how it will be pitched by the Republicans.”
The Treasury Department introduced sanctions on nearly all of Iran’s oil industry.
Speaking about the nuclear deal, Peter Harrell, a former State Department official and supporter of Mr Biden, said: “It seems clear that one of the primary reasons for yesterday’s action was to try to make it more difficult for a potential next administration to go back into the JCPOA.”
Meysam Sharifi, an oil trader in Tehran, said: “They are making it difficult both for Iran and for Biden to get out of this quagmire.
“It seems Trump thinks he may lose and is rushing to tighten the noose on Iran and on Biden’s diplomacy.”
Sanctions caused Iran a severe deficit in vital drugs such as insulin and flu vaccine.
Recently, cooking oil and butter have also become scarce in the country.
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