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The U.S. to End Sanction Waivers for Iranian Oil Importers

The United States under Trump’s administration is set to announce the termination of the sanction waiver it grants to nations that import oil from Iran.

Three U.S. officials who spoke on conditions of anonymity said on Sunday, that the United States will be putting an end to the sanction waivers it granted to eight countries including South Korea, Japan, Turkey, China, and India. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will reportedly give the announcement on Monday.

In November 2018, the U.S. re-imposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil after the President pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Washington, however, granted waivers to eight nations that had reduced their purchases of oil from Iran. The waivers allowed these countries to continue to buy Iranian products for six months without incurring sanctions.

The waivers were said to have been given to the eight importers to allow them to find alternate energy sources and prepare the global oil markets for the removal of Iranian crude.  While Italy, Greece, and Taiwan have stopped importing Iranian oil since last year, the other five countries are yet to do the same. They have lobbied for their waivers which will expire on May 2 to be renewed.

President Donald Trump according to the three officials, finalized the decision not to extend the waivers on Friday. It is, however, unclear if the five nations will be given additional time to wrap up their trade deals with Iran or if they would begin to face sanctions from May 3.

The United State’s decision not to extend the waivers is intended to choke the revenue Iran gets from oil exports, putting further pressure on the country to do Washington’s biddings. The U.S wants Iran to curtail its nuclear program and desist from supporting militant proxies across the Middle East.

Turkey, one of America’s major allies has said that it does not support U.S. sanctions policy on Iran. Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, opined that the sanctions will not yield the desired result. Kalin said on Tuesday that they expect the United States to extend the sanction waiver as Iranian oil is critical to meeting the energy needs of their country.

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