Economy

‘Toughest ever’ US sanctions on Iran come into effect

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The United States sanctions on Iran have officially come into effect from today, with US President Donald Trump promising it to be ‘the toughest ever’, PTI reported. He expressed his confidence on the expected consequences to affect the Islamic Republic’s behavior.

Earlier in May, Trump had pulled US out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), terming it as “disastrous”, which had, under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, made Iran agree to stop its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

The sanctions include Iran’s banking and energy sectors’ reinstating penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports. India and China, who are the two biggest buyers of Iranian crude, seems to have skipped the sanctions that cover the Iranian oil and financial sectors.

Both countries are believed to be among the eight countries that have been given the rare exemptions from the Iranian sanctions.

The Trump administration said it has asked these countries including Turkey, Iraq, Italy, Japan and South Korea to bring down their oil purchase to zero as soon as possible.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a talk show on Fox News, repetitively deflected inquiries about the commitment from India and China on zero-oil purchase from Iran.

“Watch what we do. Watch as we’ve already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in previous history. Watch the efforts that President Trump’s policies have achieved. We’ve done all of this, too, while making sure that American consumers don’t suffer,” he said.

“I am very confident that the sanctions that will be re-imposed this Monday, not only the crude oil sanctions, that the financial sanctions that are being put in place by the Treasury Department and over 600 designations of individuals and companies in Iran will have the intended effect to alter the Iranian regime’s behaviour. That’s our expectation. It’s the reason for President Trump’s policy,” he stated.

PTI, citing sources, stated that India is willing to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year.

Pompeo stated that the current sactions are the toughest ever on this country. “They’re aimed at a singular purpose, denying the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorists the capacity to do things like they did this past couple weeks, attempted assassination campaign in the heart of Europe,” he said.

“These sanctions have already had an enormous impact. We’ve already reduced Iranian crude oil exports by over a million barrels per day. That number will fall farther. There’s a handful of places where countries that have already made significant reductions in their crude oil exports need a little bit more time to get to zero, and we’re going to provide that to them,” he said.

Brian Hook, the special adviser to the secretary of state and special representative for Iran, told PBS News that the US is not looking to give any exceptions or waivers to its sanctions regime.

“Going forward, next year, we anticipate a much better supplied oil market, and that will help us accelerate, I think, the path to zero,” he said.

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