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Trump’s Carrots and Sticks: Iran Sanctions ON, Open to New Nuclear Deal

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Local Editor

Once again, US President Donald Trump plays the game of carrot and stick with Iran. However, would it be useful?

Trump on Monday told Iran to change its so-called "destabilizing" behavior or risk further economic isolation, hours before the re-imposition of sweeping sanctions against Tehran, though he left the door open to a new nuclear deal.

After Trump pulled Washington out of the historic 2015 multilateral accord in May, to the consternation of his European partners, a new pact seemed unlikely in the short term, given his conditions -- and Tehran's anger.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif himself accused Trump of "bullying" and of being isolated in his hostility to the Islamic Republic.

A first phase of US sanctions against Iran goes into effect today, targeting Iran's access to US banknotes and key industries including cars and carpets.

"The Iranian regime faces a choice," Trump said in a statement. "Either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation."

"I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism," the Republican leader added.

Zarif lashed out at Trump, but acknowledged there were difficult times ahead.

"Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated," Zarif told reporters, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc, as well as Britain, France and Germany, deeply regretted the move by Washington.

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran," she said in a statement.

But many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of US penalties.

"Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences," Trump said.

Two sides that have welcomed increased pressure on Iran are its key regional rivals, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia.

“Israeli” War Minister Avigdor Lieberman described the renewed sanctions as "a courageous decision which will be remembered for generations."

After months of fierce rhetoric, Trump surprised observers last week when he offered to meet with Rouhani without preconditions.

But Zarif suggested it was hard to imagine negotiating with the man who tore up an agreement on which Iran and world powers had spent the "longest hours in negotiating history."

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team