USA Attempts to Squeeze Further Iran Via International Sanctions
The current tensions between Iran and the USA stem from President Trump’s deep unhappiness with the accord reached by his predecessor and other world leaders over a deal intended to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran has steadfastly claimed that its only interest in the enrichment of fissile uranium is for peaceful, civil nuclear power purposes, but the enrichments it has attained go well beyond what is needed for that purpose, drawing deep suspicions that its real aim was to attain a nuclear bomb.
In return for a verifiable curbing of its nuclear ambitions, Iran saw a lifting of sanctions and the ability to sell its oil freely on international markets. Trump unilaterally withdrew the USA from the international accord, but Iran and the other states have continued to honour the treaty. The EU has stated that it will protect businesses trading with Iran from US sanctions in the past.
The US has announced that it will end exemptions from its unilaterally (re)imposed sanctions on Iran, putting it further at odds with the international community. This is taking the for of the ending of exemptions from its sanctions for certain countries and will come into effect next week.
Announcing the policy, which will effect China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said: “Today I am announcing that we will no longer grant any exemptions. We’re going to zero. We will continue to enforce sanctions and monitor compliance. Any nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution. The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits.”
Part of the US strategy is to pressure Iran to withdraw from the treaty itself, but that seems unlikely to succeed. The US move helped oil prices to move up to their highest levels of the year.