US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States would no longer grant oil waivers to China and India, Iran’s two largest customers, the wake of broadening economic sanctions on the country.
The decision would also end waivers for Japan, South Korea and Turkey, all American allies or partners.
In May last year, US President Donald Trump had unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and restored wide-ranging sanctions on the Iranian economy in November. At the time, his administration granted six-month waivers to eight countries that allowed them to continue importing limited quantities of crude oil from Iran.
The administration says that any country still importing oil from Iran will be subject to US sanctions beginning on May 2.
“President Donald J Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May,” the White House said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”
The waivers had allowed the five nations to avoid major sanctions against Iranian oil exports that were imposed by the United States last November. Those exceptions will expire on May 2, clearing the way for American economic penalties against all companies or financial institutions that continue to take part in transactions linked to buying Iranian oil.
“We will no longer grant exemptions,” Pomoeo said in Washington. “We’re going to zero. We’re going to zero across the board.”
Any action or entity interacting with Iran should do its due diligence and act with caution,” Pompeo said. He estimated that Iran was earning about $50 billion per year from oil sales, accounting for as much as 40 percent of the government’s revenues.