Washington, DC – The United States on Thursday did not deny reports that Washington was working to grant waivers under the new Iran sanctions to India and South Korea to continue buying oil from Iran, but confirmed that the US was working with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis.
In response to a question by IAT at the State Department off-camera, on-the-record briefing, Robert Palladino, Deputy Spokesperson told journalists, “The United States is in the midst of an internal process to consider significant reduction exceptions for individual countries, but that is only on a case-by-case basis.”
“We continue to discuss our Iran policy with our counterparts around the world and the implications of our re-imposition of sanctions previously lifted or waivered under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” added Palladino.
Pressed further to elaborate on the policy of exceptions, Palladino said, “We’re prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis, and our goal remains to get to zero.”
Although India, the second-largest purchaser of Iranian oil, along with South Korea are reducing their imports, the chances of those countries reaching zero are zero according to oil market experts.
On the countries just reducing but not reaching zero, Palladino concluded: “We have an internal process to consider significant reduction exceptions for individual countries and we continue to discuss that. And I’m not going to go into detail, any further detail on what that would constitute.”
After the Trump administration took office, the US insisted that Iran violated the JCPOA and President Donald Trump announced its withdrawal from the pact in May, meaning that its sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran. In May, the Trump administration gave oil buyers 180 days to wind down purchases of Iranian crude.
EU, Others Stick to JCPOA
But in the wake of US withdrawal, the remaining parties of the multilateral pact — China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union — reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement.
Despite these factors, the US is talking confidence to cripple Iranian economy with blistering sanctions as Palladino said, “We’re quite confident moving forward that the actions that are being taken are going to help us exert maximum pressure against the Iranian regime and this leading state sponsor of terrorism is going to see revenues cut off significantly that will deprive it of its ability to fund terrorism throughout the region.”
On Friday, in a teleconference call with journalists, the Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo was joined by the Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin to announce the Trump policy on Iran Sanctions.
Opening the discussion, Secretary Pompeo said, “While important, these economic sanctions are just a part of the US Government’s total effort to change the behavior of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Qasem Soleimani, and the Iranian regime.”
“As of Monday November 5th, the final round of snapback sanctions will be enforced on Iran’s energy, shipping, shipbuilding, and financial sectors,” said Secretary Mnuchin, stressing, “We are intent on ensuring that global funds stop flowing to the coffers of the Iranian regime.”
Both the secretaries didn’t address the subject of waivers to some countries like India and South Korea but according to sources, most of these facts will be cleared on Monday as the US announces details of reimposing sanctions.