Cut oil imports from Iran to zero, or else, warns State Department
Senior US official tells reporters that buyers will face harsh sanctions if they don’t comply by November
The Trump administration will enact a zero tolerance policy with regard to exports of Iranian crude oil, a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday, stressing that the US plans to pressure all buyers to completely cut any imports or face sanctions.
The unnamed official said that the message has already been conveyed to European diplomats, multiple media outlets reported, but that China, India and Turkey have yet to be consulted.
While the official noted that the November deadline offered countries a window to draw down purchases, the move stands in contrast to the Obama administration policy which required buyers to cut imports by 20% every 180 months during a previous pressure campaign.
The decision will test the United States’ ability to pressure Iran unilaterally, with European countries which worked in unison with the Obama administration to cut shipments voicing strong opposition to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. Under that deal, sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for a pledge to halt a nuclear weapons development program.
The official reportedly said there are no plans to issue waivers and the administration will be lobbying other Middle Eastern exporters to ensure global supply.