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US Ends Sanctions Waivers for Iranian Oil Importers

April 22, 2019 by  

VOA – The United States on Monday said it is ending sanctions waivers for five countries importing Iranian oil, hoping to put new pressure on Tehran to curb its military aggression in the Mideast by cutting off its main source of national revenue. The White House announced that President Donald Trump had decided to end the waivers on May 2 for three allies — Japan, South Korea and Turkey — as well as China and India. Three others — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — had already acceded to U.S. demands to end their purchases of Iranian oil. In a Twitter comment,Trump said Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel “will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil.”

Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?

The U.S. said it, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met, as all Iranian oil is removed from the market,” by increasing their oil production.

The oil industry database TankerTrackers.com said the complete removal of waivers is likely to curb Iran’s exports to below 1 million barrels a day, down from 1.9 million in March.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid a-Falih said his country “will coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance.”

As news of the end of the sanctions waivers first surfaced on Sunday, the price for the international benchmark Brent crude spiked, remaining up Monday, increasing 2.6 percent to $73.87 a barrel.

The White House said the “decision is intended to bring Iranian oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”

 

If any of the countries that previously had waivers from the U.S. sanctions on oil trades with Iran continue to make purchases, it could impair robust trade with the U.S. and possibly complicate U.S.-China trade talks.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters shortly after the White House announcement that by ending the sanctions waivers, the U.S. has “made clear our seriousness of purpose.”

The top U.S. diplomat said the U.S. is “happy to re-engage with Iran as a normal nation” once it “ends pursuit” of nuclear weapons, missile testing and fostering terrorism.

Pompeo said the “expeditionary nature of the Iranian government threatens people throughout the world.”

“The goal remains simply: To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilize the Middle East for decades and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country,” Pompeo said. He said Iran was generating more than $50 billion a year in revenue before the sanctions went into effect.

He said that as Iranian oil exports have already been cut, with Italy, Greece and Taiwan finding other energy sources, “we have watched Iran have diminished power around the world as part of our campaign.”

Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran last year after he abandoned the 2015 international agreement that gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear activity.

The U.S. sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to change what the administration calls Iran’s “malign activities,” including its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Monday that China opposes U.S. imposition of “unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction,” and that China’s business with Iranian companies is transparent and legal.

While the United States has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran and the other signatories — Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — have said they remain committed to carrying out the agreement.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is in charge of monitoring Iran’s compliance, with terms such as limiting the number of centrifuges in operation at its nuclear facilities and abiding by caps on its stock of enriched uranium. In multiple reports, the IAEA says Iran is abiding by the deal.

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