U.S. President Donald Trump has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions, the White House said in a statement on April 21.
The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market,” the White House said.
“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the statement added.
The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, won’t be renewed when they expire on May 2.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington has had “extensive and productive discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers to ease this transition and ensure sufficient supply.”
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas) applauded the end of oil waivers for Iran.
“This decision will deprive the ayatollahs of billions of dollars that they would have spent undermining the security of the United States and our allies, building up Iran’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs and financing global terrorism,” he said.
The move is part of the Trump administration’s tough line on Iran.
“We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of the Iranian people, and return to the negotiating table,” Pompeo said in an April 22 statement.
Oil exports are a key source of revenue for Tehran, which has been hit hard by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.
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Ahead of Washington’s announcement, an unamed Iranian Oil Ministry source told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency that the United States will fail to cut Iranian oil exports to zero.
“Whether the waivers continue or not, Iran’s oil exports will not be zero under any circumstances unless Iranian authorities decide to stop oil exports…and this is not relevant now,” Tasnim quoted the unnamed “informed source” as saying. (RFERL)