As US prepares sanctions, Iran arrests former forex boss after currency collapse

Trump intends to force Iran

Iranian protesters have attacked a religious school in Karaj province near Tehran, a conservative Iranian news agency has said, as sporadic protests simmered ahead of the reimposition of United States sanctions.

The sanctions now being brought back were among those lifted under the 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Trump has rejected pleas from USA allies not to unilaterally drop out of the deal.

But the renewed hostility has already sparked a run on Iran's currency, which has lost around half its value since Trump's announcement. The currency's collapse and soaring inflation have sparked sporadic demonstrations in Iran against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans. He again justified leaving the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and left the door open to negotiations for new deal in the future.

In a televised address, Rouhani said there could be no talks as long as Washington was reneging on the deal.

"The president has always said he is prepared to talk, but it's important that Iran has to be committed to changing its ways in order for those discussions to prove of any value", he added. "But talks need honesty", he added. "At that time, we were warned from experts... that the threat of unilateral sanctions from the USA would not be effective, but three months out we have a very different picture". "If you have [good] relations with people of Iran, then the question is why the first round of sanctions you imposed were targeting planes?" he asked.

All remaining United States nuclear-related sanctions will resume effective November 5, 2018.

At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, the United States will sanction Iran's central bank, sending a clear message to its European allies: Do business with the USA, or do it with Iran, but not both.

And licences which allow Iran to buy USA and European airplanes, as well as parts for the planes have been frozen, days after Iran bought five new airliners from European manufacturers.

"The next 90 days will see increasing pressure culminating in" the reimposition of sanctions on Iran's energy sector, the third official said.

That will set up a showdown with the USA, with one official warning the USA will make sure the pressure is air-tight: "Make no mistake about it, we are very intent on using these authorities".

"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.

IRGC chief Major General Mohammad Ali Ja'fari expressed satisfaction with the exercise and commended the naval and aerospace units which participated in the drill, Sharif said.

"Although the Europeans are trying to solve the Iran nuclear deal and continue to do business with Iran, ultimately banks and companies do not listen to the government, they make their own decisions", he said.

Questioned about the sharp devaluation of Iranian currency in recent months and its threat to Iran's economy, Rouhani blamed "chronic problems" with the nation's banking system "from before the revolution". Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump's sanctions on Iran would be enforced.

The sanctions will be reinstated at midnight Monday, also affecting the sale of graphite, aluminum, steel, and software to and from Iran.

The EU and other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, China and Russian Federation, are working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with curbs on its nuclear work if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions under the deal.

But major European companies, fearful of being locked out of the US market and financial system, have already canceled economic deals with Iran, including French oil giant Total and container shipping firm Maersk.

"If Iran were really serious they'd come to the table".

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