Trump’s abrupt decision to end Iran waiver angers friends

Trump abrupt decision to end Iran waiver angers friends
The Trump administration on Monday surprised the world by ending waivers allowing selected countries to keep importing Iranian crude oil. Analysts believe Trump’s decision will likely sour relations with rivals and friends alike.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo termed the decision as a bid to exert maximum pressure on Iran. Furthermore, the decision aims to bring Iran’s oil export to zero from current level of nearly 1.5 million barrels a day. The waiver will expire on May 2.

Also, to bring Iranian oil imports to zero has remained a long-stated goal of Trump administration ever since latter unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal an year ago.

The move came two weeks after President Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The calculated decision also reflects US willingness to punish Tehran without angering Europeans friends and inflicting loss on global economic.

Still, the decision will have lasting political and economic repercussions, especially in a moment when Trump is entering a re-election campaign soon.

To minimize aftershocks of the Monday’s announcement, US also announced that it is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to keep price hikes and and supply disruptions in check.

However, Saudis are acting cautiously as USA betrayed them last year by offering waiver to eight countries.

Pompeo said, “We will no longer grant any exemptions. We’re going to zero—going to zero across the board,” he told reporters, adding that how long the United States pushes for zero Iranian exports “depends solely” on whether Tehran changes its behavior.”

“We have made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies. End your pursuit of nuclear weapons. Stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles. Stop sponsoring and committing terrorism. Halt the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens,” Pompeo said.

“We’ll see how the oil markets are after the initial shock has worn off but it’s going to be an expensive summer to travel,” said Neil Bhatiya, an expert on sanctions at the Center for a New American Security.