The Trump administration said Monday that it will no longer exempt countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, in a move that sparked condemnations from Tehran as well as Iran’s major oil importers, including China and Turkey.
“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the White House said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Mr Trump’s decision not to renew the waivers showed his administration was “dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets”.
“The goal remains simply: To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilise the Middle East for decades and incentivise Iran to behave like a normal country,” Pompeo said.
The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its destabilizing activities and global terrorist campaign has serious consequences.
The Iranian regime has long used oil revenues to support its destabilizing activities and fund terrorist proxies throughout the world.
Since November, three of the eight countries receiving waivers – Italy, Greece and Taiwan – have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
Iran is however one of Delhi’s main oil suppliers. But India also has deep cultural and political ties with Tehran, which make it difficult to join US efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose following the Trump administration’s announcement on Monday.
In morning trading, benchmark US crude surged $1.52, or 2.4 percent to $65.57 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, jumped $1.84, or 2.6 percent to $73.80.