Pompeo talks up Iran sanctions ahead of midterm elections

In 2012, South Korea received a waiver on USA sanctions by importing limited amounts of Iranian oil during the previous round of sanctions that were lifted in early 2016.

Rouhani, for his part, emphasized that Iran had the capacity to break the regime of sanctions imposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

The new sanctions against Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors come into effect Monday.

Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, setting the stage for Washington to reimpose all of the sanctions it lifted as part of the agreement. Eight countries were granted temporary waivers to continue buying some crude from Iran following the re-imposition of USA sanctions on Monday.

"In general, one can say that the interests of nuclear nonproliferation are not placed in the hierarchy of Washington's foreign policy priorities as high as it is declared, otherwise the United States would not have acted so irresponsibly and defiantly", he concluded. "We have to stand to win." the president said.

All of the other signatories have argued the agreement is the best way to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, and Iranian officials have pledged to remain a party as long as the other non-U.S. parties continue observing it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, however, told USA Today his government is open to talks with the US if the Trump administration changes its approach to the nuclear deal.

Israel's Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to America" rallied on Sunday, rejecting calls for talks.

But the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is not so sure.

"The Iran sanctions are very strong".

The administration's strategy is to punish Iran so severely that it's compelled to negotiate a permanent end to its nuclear ambitions, as well as what the USA calls its "malign behavior" in the Middle East.

He claimed the sanctions would backfire and work against the United States and that "many countries from Europe to Russian Federation and China have opposed the sanctions".

Washington has restored measures lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with Tehran by the administration of President Barack Obama.

The move is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further limit its nuclear work and halt a missile programme, as well as end its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

"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".

"But until Iran makes changes in the 12 ways that I listed in May, we will be relentless in exerting pressure on the regime", he said.

The developments raise Mideast tensions as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.

"We must make the Americans understand in clear language that they can not deal with us with force, pressure, and sanctions", Rouhani reportedly said during public remarks at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

He said Washington believed the Iranian nation had lost their confidence in its clerical rulers.

Its national currency has plummeted over the past year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.

  • Leroy Wright