China and Turkey say they will keep importing oil from Iran in defiance of president Donald Trump who on Monday announced an end to waivers that allowed them to do so. Iran then renewed its long-standing threat to close the Strait of Hormuz by military force.
The sharp escalation in geopolitical tensions, and the opening of a new and more dangerous flashpoint in the Middle East, is a result of the Trump administration’s avowed aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The goal of this tactic is to force Iran to negotiate a new deal to replace the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump unilaterally abrogated in May 2018.
Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA also restored wide-ranging sanctions on the Iranian economy in November. His administration, however, also granted six-month waivers, or Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs), to eight countries (China and Turkey included) that allowed them to continue importing limited quantities of crude oil from Iran.
Chinese and Turkish companies now face the threat of being locked out of the U.S. financial system if they continue to import crude from Iran.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday blasted Trump’s Iran policy.
“China opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called ‘long-arm jurisdictions’ imposed by the U.S.,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang. “Our cooperation with Iran is open, transparent, lawful and legitimate, thus it should be respected.”
Shuang said China “is committed to upholding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and will play a positive and constructive role in upholding the stability of global energy market.”
Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu rejected Trump’s sanctions outright, saying it “will not serve regional peace and stability” and will hurt the Iranian people.
The #US decision to end sanctions waivers on #Iran oil imports will not serve regional peace and stability, yet will harm Iranian people. #Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors. @StateDept @SecPompeo
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 22, 2019
Source: International Business Times
India will stop importing crude oil from Iran following the US move to end sanction waivers, and will use alternate supply sources such as Saudi Arabia to make up for the lost volumes, top officials and industry sources said on Tuesday. The Trump administration on Monday decided not to renew waiver that let countries like India buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.