The first round of U.S. nuclear sanctions on Iran officially snapped back into place on Tuesday, and although that turn of events pales in comparison to a raft of penalties yet to come, experts say it sends a clear signal that Washington is willing to pummel the Iranian economy.
President Donald Trump gave banks and companies 90 days to prepare for the return of some sanctions after he abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May. Since then, Iran's currency, the rial, has plummeted and the Iranian economy is faltering, sparking protests across the country.
The Trump administration is wagering that the sanctions can pile enough pressure on Iran that they will lead to a better deal than President Barack Obama secured, even though Obama enforced the same penalties and marshaled far more international support for them.
"I am pleased that many international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market, and several countries have indicated that they will reduce or end imports of Iranian crude oil," Trump said in a statement on Monday. "We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.