The Trump administration is trying to cut off Iran’s oil exports by removing the waivers on sanctions to five countries still receiving exemptions.

Monday’s decision will affect China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey — major importers of Iranian oil.

“The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well-supplied global oil markets,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We stand by our allies and partners as they transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives.”

The current waivers, which were granted in November after the United States pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in order to allow the countries to find alternate oil sources, expire on May 2. Iran’s oil exports income is more than £38bn ($50 billion) a year, The Associated Press reported.

The removal of the waivers is being done in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, 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 Pompeo statement said. “The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied. We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a tweet that “Coupled with the recent designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, today’s announcement should make the United States’ resolve abundantly clear to Tehran.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday warned the United States of “consequences” if it prevents Tehran from selling oil

“We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil,” Zarif said at an event at the Asia Society in New York, according to the Reuters news agency. “We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil.

“If the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that then it should be prepared for the consequences,” he added. “[US President Donald Trump] thinks through further pressure on Iran — the so-called ‘maximum pressure policy’ — he can bring us to our knees. He’s mistaken.”

Source: Jewish News / Times of Israel