Israeli Defense Chief Thanks Trump for Reimposing Sanctions on Iran; Rohani Warns of 'War Situation'

Avigdor Lieberman says move will deal 'critical blow to Iran's entrenchment' in region ■ Iranian president vows to keep selling oil and break sanctions

A protester prepares to set fire to a $100 bill during a demonstration on the anniversary of the U.S. embassy seizure, Tehran, Iran, November 4, 2018.
Bloomberg

The United States reimposes oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its missile and nuclear programs and counter its growing military and political influence in the Middle East. 

The move will restore U.S. sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, and add 300 new designations in Iran's oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors. 

>> Analysis: Trump's sanctions against Iran threaten to mar the world order ■ Opinion: Why Israel will end up facing Iran alone

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset on Monday where he thanked U.S. President Donald Trump as the U.S. reimposes broad sanctions on Iran. 

Netanyahu believes the sanctions must include credit. "I raised this issue a number of times. I am happy that the U.S. has included credit as part of the sanctions," he said. 

"Iran is the greatest threat to Israel, the Middle East and world peace... This is a matter that I also went against with the entire world. I would like to thank President Trump for the courageous and important decision," Netanyahu added.

Earlier on Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman took to Twitter to thank Trump on the "bold decision."

"President Trump's bold decision is the sea-change the Middle East has been waiting for. In a single move, the United States is dealing a critical blow to Iran's entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen," Lieberman wrote.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said that Iran will sell its oil and break the sanctions, pledging to government officials in comments aired on state TV that Iran would overcome the sanctions.

"We are in the war situation, " Rohani said. "We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win."

Trump announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States. Other parties to the deal, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, have said they will not leave. 

Details of the sanctions will be released at a news conference scheduled for 8:30 A.M. EST with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey – all top importers of Iranian oil – are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized. 

The countries will deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account, U.S. officials have said. 

Washington has said it will ensure a well supplied global oil market, with help from ally Saudi Arabia, as Iran oil is cut back. Front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.53 per barrel on Monday. 

The reimposition of the sanctions comes as the United States is focused on U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. Campaigning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, late on Sunday, Trump said his "maximum pressure" policy against Iran was working. 

"Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office," said Trump, adding: "They wanted to take over the whole Middle East. Right now they just want to survive." 

Earlier, thousands of Iranians chanted "Death to America" at a rally to mark the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Iran should implement policies to safeguard its macroeconomic stability in the face of sanctions. 

Senior Iranian officials have dismissed concerns about the impact to its economy. 

"America will not be able to carry out any measure against our great and brave nation ... We have the knowledge and the capability to manage the country's economic affairs," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state TV on Friday.