‘We will squeeze Iran very hard’

Khashoggi tape doesn’t implicate Saudi leadership: Bolton

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John Bolton

Iran’s economy to contract 1.5% this year and 3.6% next year: IMF

Singapore — US National Security Adviser John Bolton vowed Tuesday to “squeeze” Iran “until the pips squeak”, a week after a tough new round of sanctions came into force.

President Donald Trump has dramatically increased pressure on Tehran, withdrawing from an international agreement aimed at ending its nuclear program and introducing several rounds of unilateral US sanctions.

The latest tranche of measures have been touted as the toughest yet, and aim to significantly reduce Iran’s vital oil exports and cut off its banks from international finance.

Speaking in Singapore ahead of a summit, Bolton said: “We think the government is under real pressure and it’s our intention to squeeze them very hard.

“As the British say, squeeze them until the pips squeak. We are also going to significantly increase the enforcement of sanctions.”

“There’s no doubt Iran has already started to try and find ways to evade the sanctions both on oil in particular and financial markets,” Bolton added.

Bolton said that “most of the countries of Europe have passed through denial and anger and many of them are already at acceptance that we’re out of the deal. Others are getting to that point.”

In the face of widespread opposition to the sanctions, Washington issued exemptions to eight countries to its ban on buying oil from major producer Iran.

Washington is demanding that Tehran end policies rooted in the 1979 revolution, including its support for regional proxies such as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and its development of missiles.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year.

Bolton also said that people who’ve heard a recording of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder don’t believe it implicates Saudi Arabia’s leadership.

Asked if the audio links Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Bolton said: “That’s not the conclusion I think that the people who heard it have come to, and that’s certainly not the position of the Saudi government.” — Agencies


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