ISTANBUL – Iran's military forces conducted warfare, and its president strongly opposed Monday to "break" the US sanctions. oil sales were reintroduced at midnight as Tehran resisted Trump's pressure campaign for economic isolation.
"We will proudly lose the sanctions," said Hassan Ruhani during a meeting of government officials in the Iranian capital.
Rushani's oath to continue exporting oil came as the Trump administration removed the sanctions to more than 700 people and companies who received relief from sanctions when a 2015 nuclear agreement reference point came into force.
Unilateral sanctions reinstate some of the toughest restrictions on Iran's oil, shipping and banking sector and seek to impose sanctions on even entities outside the United Kingdom that cooperate with Iran.
Iranian leaders called for "illegal" sanctions and said they would only hit ordinary people. Iran's economy faced steady growth and high unemployment, even after lifting sanctions following the nuclear deal it negotiated with world powers. In recent months, its currency has collapsed, increasing prices and oustering savings.
"We have to make the Americans understand that they can not talk to the great Iranian nation in the language of pressure and sanctions," Rhuhai said on Monday in television remarks. He spoke at a conference of economists, who said he was in the "front line of resistance" against the United States.
"What Americans are doing today is only putting pressure on people," he said, according to a copy of the comments posted on the President's website.
Also on Monday, the Iranian army and its powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps conducted joint warfare in the northern and western parts of the country, the Islamic Republic's official news agency said. Exercises include air defense systems and anti-aircraft batteries.
US Secretary of State Mike Pombeo and other government officials described sanctions as "the toughest sanctions ever enforced" in Iran. While the full number of individuals and entities that have been ratified is greater than ever, many experts in the Middle East believe that they will be less effective than the UK sanctions prior to the agreement. This is due to the fact that virtually every country in the world was behind the previous sanctions, and all but a handful of nations are opposed to restoring them.
The most important of the new measures is the ban on oil and gas sales, which provide the Iranian government with 80% of its total revenue.
Black companies include 50 Iranian banks, an Iranian airline and dozens of its aircraft, as well as officials and ships in Iran's shipping and energy sector.
President Trap withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement in May and gave nations and businesses 180 days to end their oil markets at zero. The government has granted exemptions to eight countries that have cut their oil markets from Iran but have not stopped them entirely.
Countries that are allowed to continue buying Iranian oil temporarily under sanctions include the two largest oil customers of Iran, China and India, Pompeo announced on Monday. Exemptions were also granted from Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan.
In addition, Pompeo said the United States has granted exemptions for the continuation of three non-proliferation projects overseeing Iran's nuclear program. The only one he found was in Bush, where Russia is building a second unit in an existing nuclear power plant.
Since May, Europeans have repeatedly stated that they wish to maintain the nuclear agreement and have focused their diplomatic efforts on maintaining trade alive with Iran, nevertheless possible.
In August, the European Commission revised the Blocking Statute, a 1995 law aimed at helping European companies and banks to recover losses stemming from US sanctions against third parties. The law also implies that European courts could cancel US decisions on sanctions.
However, many European companies with US presence remain cautious about European tools, whose effectiveness has not yet been tested.
Responding to Twitter, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "the US is intimidating." He added: "The US – not Iran – is isolated."
By sending out the nuclear agreement, Trump's administration complained that it did not go far enough to curb Iran's nuclear program and did not cover other unpleasant activities.
Under the agreement, Iran has reduced the atomic energy program in exchange for broad relief from nuclear-related sanctions. Iran has complied with the terms of the nuclear agreement, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Kingdom Nuclear Observer tasked with monitoring nuclear activity in the country. But the Trump administration requires Iran to change its "malicious behavior" in the region, including the development of ballistic missiles and regional proxy support.
The departure of the US gave a victory to the Iranian hardliners who opposed the nuclear agreement for reasons they gave too much to the United States and five other world powers that signed it. The authoritarian anti-American hardliners were the main drivers of Iran's support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
Iranian experts warn that sanctions are unlikely to change Iranian influence or activities in the region. A report released Friday by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group tracked Iran's economic performance and regional policy over four decades and concluded that there was "little or no correlation between the two."
"Tehran has continued to pursue the policies it considers central to its national security regardless of the degree of economic prosperity at home, The report said. "The aggressive policy of the Trump administration is more likely to push Iran's regional activism than to curb it."
In Tehran, residents have voiced worries Monday for the future.
A man, a 45-year-old manual worker, said in a telephone interview that low wages and high inflation mean that his family "can not even travel to our own villages" to visit relatives. He talked about the condition of anonymity from the fear of the government retaliator.
"I work two shifts now, including weekends, and we buy what we can withstand without worrying about quality," he said.
Another resident, a 30-year-old woman who works in a private distribution company, said by telephone that she was paying too much for a prescription for her parents on the black market.
"Multiple products can not be found [on the market] "The woman, a marketing supervisor, also refused to give her name to talk freely about the conditions in Iran.
Neither Iran nor the United States "want the best for the Iranian people," he said. "So I have no hope."
"Sanctions are bad for people only," he said. "We've seen it in the past."
Morello said from Washington. James McCauley in Paris and Quentin Ariès in Brussels contributed to this report.