Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as United States re-imposes measures

Iranians shop in Tehran

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US officials did not immediately make an announcement as the sanctions took force in the early morning hours of November 5, part of Washington's effort to ramp up pressure on Tehran to "change its behavior" and end what the United States says is its "malign" activities in the region.

"China opposes unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

"We are in the economic war situation", he said.

Days ahead of the U.S.'s important midterm elections, Donald Trump has continued on his crusade to stoke fear in the hearts of America's conservatives with blatant lies and racism.

Hua urged all sides to keep in mind "long-term interests, fulfill their obligations and responsibilities and choose to stand on the right side of history".

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However, the UK, Germany and France have all objected to the sanctions.

Switzerland said it was holding talks with the United States and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help food and drugs keep flowing to Tehran.

Iran's economy has been hit hard, with the country's currency, the rial, plummeting in value, leading to some street protests in Iranian cities.

Asked if the United States had firm commitments from India and China to stop all oil purchases from Iran within six months, Pompeo replied: "Watch what we do".

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".

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic republic "will proudly bypass sanctions" by the United States that took effect on Monday (Nov 5) targeting the country's oil and financial sectors.

"We have advised SWIFT that it must disconnect any Iranian financial institutions that we designate as soon as technologically feasible to avoid sanctions exposure", Steve Mnuchin told reporters.

World oil markets were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions. "Sagging refining margins at a time of weak crude prices sends a very telling message to us that demand is underperforming", he said.

The White House has also announced plans to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero and launch a campaign of "maximum economic and diplomatic pressure" on Iran.

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

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The Trump administration has worked to crush Tehran's oil exports to zero since May, when Mr. Trump withdrew the USA from the multilateral deal endorsed by the Obama administration that eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's suspect nuclear programs. That was one of the most ridiculous deals ever made by any country, at any time: "the Iran nuclear deal", he said.

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