Iran: 'Psychological warfare' as USA sanctions kick in

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U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Monday that firms doing business with Tehran would be barred from the United States as new U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect in spite of pleas from Washington's allies.

The sanctions that went into effect on Tuesday target Iranian access to USA banknotes and key economic sectors including cars and carpets.

The "Trump Administration wants the world to believe it's concerned about the Iranian people", Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement posted to Twitter.

European firms must seek a legal exemption for withdrawing from Iran due to U.S. sanctions and those failing to do so could be penalized by their governments. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is monitoring the implementation of the deal, has said in 11 consecutive reports that Iran is in compliance and that the agreement has allowed for greater verification of Iran's nuclear activities.

"It would be better if the Iranian regime would disappear entirely from this world, but it would also be a blessing to see Obama's bad nuclear agreement replaced with a better one", he said.

The EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said that the EU would pass a "blocking statute" on Tuesday to nullify USA legal action against European companies in connection with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly said during an interview on state television just before the sanctions were reimposed that he would welcome talks with the US without preconditions.

And EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has gone further by urging European businesses to do their bit to save the Iran nuclear deal by boosting trade with the country.

The Europeans didn't like any of it.

Hours before revived USA sanctions were due to kick in, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Iran should pay heed to Trump's willingness to negotiate.

He also said talks won't "make sense" once Iran is under sanctions.

"They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation", Rouhani said. Speaking in a television interview, he also demanded compensation for decades of American "intervention" in the Islamic Republic.

Among large European companies that have suspended ambitious plans to invest in Iran in response to Trump's sanctions are France's oil major Total and its big carmakers PSA and Renault. Its currency the rial has lost nearly two-thirds of its value in six months.

Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran's key regional rivals, are among the only countries to strongly support the reimposition of USA sanctions.

He added: "US hypocrisy knows no bounds".

US officials insisted the American government stands with the people of Iran and supports many of their complaints against their own government.

National security adviser John Bolton said, however, that the offer might be "just more propaganda", the network added.

A combination of two pictures shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018. "That's the ask. It's pretty simple", said Pompeo, en route Sunday from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia.

Many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of U.S. penalties, and Mr Trump warned of "severe consequences" against firms and individuals that continued to do business with Iran.