US sanctions lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran snapped back at midnight New York time as President Donald Trump fulfills his vow to ramp up pressure on the Islamic Republic over its “malign” behaviour in the Middle East, its ballistic missile tests and its nuclear program.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is scheduled to announce the list of eight countries that will get temporary waivers to keep importing Iranian oil at 8:30 a.m. Washington time on Monday. Trump said on Friday that Iran’s government must “either abandon its destructive behaviour or continue down the path toward economic disaster.”
Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018
Sources familiar with the US move said Japan, India and South Korea are among those getting waivers. China, the biggest purchaser of Iranian crude, was in talks for a waiver, while other requests were expected from Taiwan and Turkey.
More than 700 “individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft” will be sanctioned, according to the White House. They include Iranian banks, shipping companies and oil exporters.
EU, German, U.K. and French officials last week said in a joint statement that they “deeply regret” the US move and vowed to “protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday said the US is “intent on ensuring that global funds stop flowing to the coffers of the Iranian regime.”
Trump said Friday the US is open to reaching a new, more comprehensive deal with Iran that “forever blocks its path to a nuclear weapon, addresses the entire range of its malign actions, and is worthy of the Iranian people.”
The waivers prompted conservative US critics of the administration’s approach -- including Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz -- to say the White House was caving in on its tough line and to vow legislation to close what they consider loopholes.
Global benchmark Brent crude has fallen about 15 per cent from over $85 a barrel last month on increasing speculation that at least some nations would get waivers, as well as signs that other OPEC members will pump more to offset any supply gap.