U.S. Ends Exemptions for Iran Sanctions

Crude oil prices reached a five-month high (FT) after the United States announced it will no longer grant waivers for countries to import oil from Iran and said it will seek to zero out Iranian oil sales through its sanctions.

The move drew condemnation from Turkey, a NATO ally, and China, which buys half (NYT) of the one million barrels of oil Iran exports daily. China’s foreign ministry said it “consistently opposes U.S. unilateral sanctions.” The White House said the United States will work with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to make sure that the global demand for oil is met (Al Jazeera) as Iranian oil sales drop. Iran’s parliament passed legislation (Tasnim) Tuesday to require Tehran to take reciprocal measures in response to what it sees as hostile U.S. moves.


“Thus far, the Iranian officialdom has decided to take the pain and await the 2020 U.S. presidential election with the hope that a less hawkish Democrat will succeed Trump. Tehran will likely stick to this strategy as it has few retaliatory options,” writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.

“The United Nations has warned that low-income Iranians will have difficulty accessing essential goods, including medicine, if mechanisms are not established to ensure that humanitarian aid can be delivered despite sanctions,” Jasmin Ramsey writes for the World Politics Review.

“If Iran is to build a sustainable economic future for itself, its ‘look East’ policy will need to be a clear priority. But given the risks of Iran being undercut by Saudi and the fact that China’s interests are merely economic, looking to the east alone will not be enough,” Mahsa Rouhi and Clement Therme write for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.