January 16, 2020 / 3:53 PM / 6 days ago

U.S. allows time to wind down deals hit by fresh Iran sanctions

FILE PHOTO: Attendees hold flags from Iran and the United States as Iranian Americans from across California converge in Los Angeles to participate in the California Convention for a Free Iran and to express support for nationwide protests in Iran from Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 11, 2020. REUTERS/ Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday it will allow for a 90-day period to wind down transactions in certain sectors of Iran’s economy hit with fresh U.S. sanctions last week.

The period, good through April 9, allows transactions in the construction, mining, manufacturing or textiles sectors of Iran’s economy that could be targeted under last week’s action to be wound down without exposure to sanctions, the Treasury Department said in an update to its frequently asked questions, or FAQs, on Iran sanctions on its website.

Entering into new business that falls under the sanctions imposed on Friday, however, would not be considered winding down and could still be sanctionable, the FAQ said.

The United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday in retaliation for its missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq last week and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued “terrorist” acts or pursued a nuclear bomb.

The targets of the sanctions included Iran’s manufacturing, mining and textile sectors as well as senior Iranian officials who Washington said were involved in the Jan. 8 attack on military bases housing U.S. troops.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and began reimposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

Those U.S. sanctions have driven down Iranian crude sales, the Islamic Republic’s main source of revenues, but so far have not brought Iran back to the negotiating table to discuss a new nuclear pact as sought by Trump.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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