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Iran Lifts Ban on Currency Exchanges as U.S. Implements First Series of Sanctions

Iranian men count 50,000-rial banknotes bearing a portrait of Iran's late Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran's currency has fallen to record lows against the U.S. dollar, prompting new currency policies. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI
Maryam Rahmanian/UPI

Iran’s Central Bank lifted a ban on exchange offices on Monday, allowing them to bring in much-needed hard currencies ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s automotive sector, gold, and other key metals by the United States.

“We are facing an economic war and the U.S. government is restoring sanctions and also trying to increase them,” Abdolnasser Hemmati, the governor of Iran’s Central Bank, said, according to the Associated Press. “But our government is powerful … and is capable of opening up the foreign currency market on the same day.”

Hemmati reportedly said the Central Bank also approved Iranian “legal institutions and businesses” to bring gold and foreign currency into the country.

Meanwhile, Majid Takht Ravanchi, deputy director for political affairs at Iran’s presidential office, called for the European Union to take immediate action against U.S. sanctions, in an interview with Iran’s state-run Tasnim News agency that was published on Sunday.

Ravanchi reportedly said, “We would not hold negotiations for (another round of) negotiations, not with Europeans and not with any other side. We want our negotiations to be purposeful and fruitful.”

On Sunday, Europe’s Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR sent five passenger airplanes to Iran’s national airline, Iran Air. The delivery reportedly arrived on the eve of the reimposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran. According to the EU Observer, “EU countries have given European firms legal cover to continue operating in Iran, despite the US pullout from the nuclear deal in May.”

Last month, the United States refused European requests for exemptions from its new sanctions on Iran.

“We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” the U.S. said, rebuffing Britain, France, and Germany.

On November 4, the United States will reimpose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and banking industry. President Trump said nations that continue to import Iranian oil after the deadline could face sanctions.

The reimposition of sanctions was announced on May 8 when President Donald Trump officially withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), of Iran nuclear deal.

In the face of these threats, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his top commanders have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is where approximately one-third of the world’s oil passes through.

China, India, Turkey, and South Korea are among Iran’s top oil importers.

On Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “The role of China in the implementation of JCPOA, in achieving JCPOA, and now in sustaining JCPOA, will be pivotal.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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