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U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters the return of U.S. sanctions was having a strong effect on Iran's economy and popular opinion.

Separately related to Syria, Bolton had a warning for Assad as speculation increases over a Russian-backed government assault on northern Idlib province, home to the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

Bolton said that the sanctions were created to "put maximum pressure on the regime".

Speaking in an interview with IRNA, Jahangiri noted that European countries have told Iran's Foreign Ministry that they will be taking measures before usa sanctions come into effect against the country's oil and banking sectors to make up for any possible losses that Tehran may suffer.

Asked how the United States might respond should there be a chemical or biological attack on Idlib, Bolton only said, "strongly".

The issue was raised in discussions between Putin and President Trump in Helsinki last month, and the Russian president also spoke with Bolton on the subject three weeks earlier, the US national security adviser said.

The Israeli air force acted "everytime Iran has brought missiles or other threatening weapons into Syria", Bolton said while adding he saw those strikes as "a legitimate act of self-defense".

That agreement, struck between Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, limited Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions that had hurt Iran's economy.

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Israel and Syria share a border and Iran is backing Assad in his country's civil war, along with Russian Federation and Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.

Iran on Wednesday said that it would hit American and Israeli targets if the United States was to commence an attack, Reuters reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, and a series of recent strikes that killed Iranians there has been attributed to Israel.

"We remain committed to securing justice for victims of chemical weapons use", they said.

"Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime's behaviour", said Bolton, who before taking office advocated regime change in Iran. In November sanctions are to be introduced against Iran's energy sector.

"If EU companies abide by USA secondary sanctions, they will, in turn, be sanctioned by the EU", Nathalie Tocci, an aide to the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said.

Mr Bolton, who has previously called for for regime change in Iran, said that the fall of the government was not United States policy. "We are going to do other things to put pressure on Iran as well, beyond economic sanctions".

Thousands of Iranians have protested against price rises of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption. "I think that's what the two presidents had in mind for us, and hopefully they'll agree with our assessment that in fact we did make progress", he said. The protests, having successfully been provoked, are then used by U.S. officials are "proof" Iran's government isn't meeting the public's expectations. "But Iranian activity in the region has continued to be belligerent", he added, citing Iran's role in Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf.

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