(April 22, 2019 / JNS) The United States announced on Monday that it will not extend waivers to countries over importing Iranian oil as part of its goal to exert maximum pressure on Tehran.
“The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We stand by our allies and partners as they transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives.”
Pompeo mentioned “extensive and productive discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers to ease this transition and ensure sufficient supply.”
“Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerryand people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?” tweeted U.S. President Donald Trump.
Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
The Logan Act is a U.S. law that prohibits unauthorized individuals from negotiating with foreign governments that are in conflict with the United States.
No one has been convicted under the 1799 law.
Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were among the countries that received exemptions for importing Iranian petroleum after U.S. sanctions, including those on Iranian oil, that were lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were reimposed last November.
The other recipients—Greece, Italy and Taiwan—have already ended imports of Iranian oil.
The waivers expire on May 2.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among those who applauded Monday’s announcement.
“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,” said Cruz. “Ending these waivers is another important step in finally ending all American implementation of the Obama Iran nuclear deal, and one that I have longed called for.”
He added, “The administration should also take the long overdue step of ending civil-nuclear waivers, which allow the Iranians to continue nuclear-related work in places like the Fordow centrifuge bunker, which they secretly dug under a mountain so they could build nuclear weapons with additional protection from an aerial attack.”
Whether those waivers will also expire is currently unknown. A State Department spokesperson told JNS, “We have nothing to announce today.”
Netanyahu hailed the Trump administration’s latest move on Iran as “important in increasing the pressure on the Iranian terror regime.”
“We stand by the U.S. determination against Iran’s aggression, and this is the right way to stop it,” he tweeted.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations also approved of the development.
“Iran’s oil has been allowed to flow to various nations which have been exempted from U.S. sanctions measures, while the profits from those sales have funded terrorism and destabilized the Middle East and the globe,” stated chairman Arthur Stark, and executive vice chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein. “The recent decision to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil demonstrates the United States’ commitment to curtailing the Iranian threat to the [United States] and our allies, and augments the pressure on the Iranian regime to end its dangerous actions and hegemonic aspirations.”
“Given Iran’s aggressive behavior in Syria, and the funding of its proxy wars and forces, curtailing Iranian oil exports through sanctions have proven to be an effective way to stymie the designs of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” they added.