President Donald Trump will be forgoing sanction waivers and is warning countries to bring oil imports from Iran down to “zero” by November, or face sanctions, a senior U.S. State Department official told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
Despite allusions by both the Trump administration and previous Obama administration to grant sanction waivers to countries who significantly cut oil imports from Iran over a longer period of time, Trump is moving full throttle ahead to isolate Tehran both politically and economically by pressuring other nations to cut ties immediately. Trump instead will ask other Middle Eastern oil exporters to support the world’s supply, the official told The Wall Street Journal.
This marks yet another effort by the U.S. to force Iran to tamp down its nuclear development. The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord in May and reimposed sanctions on the nation. The administration amended the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations on Wednesday to include Iranian carpets and food goods as well as credit letters and brokering services.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be making several trips around the globe to ally countries in the upcoming weeks including China and India, two of the largest buyers of Iranian oil, as well as Turkey, to convince them to discontinue imports. He has already warned officials in Europe and Asia of potential sanctions if they are non-compliant.
Banks, trade facilitators and refineries are not immune to U.S.-imposed sanctions, and have already started dissociating from Iranian oil imports, causing Tehran’s oil exports to decline from 2.7 million barrels a day in May to 2.2 million barrels a day this month, according to data from London’s consulting firm Vortexa. European refiners, which buy around a third of Iran’s oil exports, have backed out of purchases, as well as Indian Oil Corp., the biggest refinery in the country, both because banks would not back the deal.
Countries across the globe will be looking to Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iraq to supply the demand for oil.
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