The US Sanction Against Iran Have ‘Kicked In’
The Trump Administration’s tough new sanctions on Iran took effect early Monday but 8 major importers of Iranian Crude Oil were spared from immediate penalties.
The sanctions target Iran’s energy, financial and shipping sectors and are aimed at crippling the country’s economy following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Y 2015 nuclear deal. The measures restore all the US sanctions that had been lifted under the accord that gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
The sanctions freeze any assets that those targeted have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them. They will also affect non-Iranian companies that deal with sanctioned Iranian firms and officials.
The US Treasury imposed penalties on more than 700 Iranian and Iranian-linked individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels. The move brought to more than 900 the number of Iran-related targets sanctioned by The Trump Administration in less than 2 years.
Among those are 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 people and ships, Iran’s state-run airline Iran Air and more than 65 of its planes.
“Treasury’s imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “The maximum pressure exerted by the United States is only going to mount from here. We are intent on making sure the Iranian regime stops siphoning its hard currency reserves into corrupt investments and the hands of terrorists.”
Yet, as the administration seeks to cut off Iran’s petroleum revenue completely it is allowing some of its closest allies: Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and China to continue to purchase Iranian Crude Oil as long as they work to reduce imports to Zero.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the waivers, which expire in 6 months, were necessary to avoid disruption of world Crude Oil markets and to give the 8 countries more time to eliminate their imports. During those 6 months, the importing country can buy Iranian Crude Oil but must deposit Iran’s revenue in an escrow account. Iran can spend the money, but only on a narrow range of humanitarian items.
Seeking to deflect criticism from some Iran hawks concerned that the sanctions don’t go far enough, Secretary Pompeo stressed that US pressure on countries to stop buying Iranian Crude Oil had already reduced its exports by more than 1-M BPD.
“Rest assured, Iran will never get close to obtaining a nuclear weapon under President Trump’s watch,” he said.
Secretary Pompeo also said limited waivers had been issued to allow European and other firms to continue conversion work on 2 of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
President Trump has repeatedly denounced the Y 2015 deal, one of former President Barack Hussein Obama’s biggest diplomatic achievements, as the “worst ever” negotiated by the United States, saying it gave Iran too much in return for too little.
The other parties to the deal: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the EU have vehemently defended it. The Europeans have mounted a drive to save the agreement without the US, fearing that the new sanctions will drive Iran to pull out and resume all of its nuclear work.