European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini speaks to the media, Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2018 (Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)
UPDATE 1300 GMT:
The Supreme Leader insisted to students in Tehran on Saturday that Iran has vanquished the US:
For 40 years, the challenge between America and Iran has continued and a variety of movements have taken place from the enemy’s side – from the military and economic warfare to the media war launched by America.
The goal of the United States in all this was to regain the domination it had in the era of the tyranny, but it could not. There is an important fact here, that in this 40-year-old challenge, the American side has been defeated and the side of the Islamic Republic has been victorious.
The reason for America’s defeat is that it has started the attack but has not reached its goals.
Ayatollah Khamenei maintained that his “Resistance Economy” will rebuff comprehensive US sanctions: “America’s goal with sanctions is to cripple and hold back Iran’s economy, but the outcome is that the push toward self-sufficiency has expanded in the country. Over the years, the Iranian nation had become accustomed to importing everything, but now it is accustomed to seeking to produce everything.”
U.S.’s power is on a decline. Today, U.S. is much weaker than it was 40 years ago. It was the same during Obama’s presidency, but it’s more evident during current US pres. His every decision is opposed by the world; not just by the people but also by governments.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 3, 2018
The European Union says it “deeply regrets” the imposition of comprehensive US sanctions on Iran from Sunday.
A statement on Friday included the UK, France, and Germany, the three European members of the 5+1 Powers who reached a nuclear deal with Iran in July 2015. It said “collective resolve to complete this work is unwavering”, despite Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the accord in May, and declared the agreement “crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world”.
The new US sanctions will cover Iran’s energy and financial sectors. It promises punishment of any company with an American interest that continues business with Tehran, unless that firm obtains a waiver from the US Treasury.
The statement said it aims to protect companies “engaged in legitimate business with Iran”. But the EU has struggled to provide guarantees for its largest companies, with firms such as France’s energy giant Total, French auto manufacturer PSA, German conglomerate Siemens, the world’s largest shipper Maersk, and European airlines and aircraft manufacturers suspending business with the Islamic Republic.
The US has refused European requests for a “white list” excluding food and medicines from sanctions. Ahmad Ghavideh, of Iran’s hemophilia society said:
There’s no doubt that the lives of thousands of patients will be at risk. Any delay in supply of medicine, particularly in the sector I work in, will have catastrophic consequences.
My worry is not for today, but in six months’ time when our supply runs out. They claim that the imports of medicines are exempted from sanctions but in practice, because of banking restrictions, we don’t have access to medicine or ingredients needed to make them internally.
On Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appealed to the Europeans in an opinion piece in London’s Financial Times.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump celebrated the impending sanctions with a Twitter poster based on the TV series Game of Thrones:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018