The United States snapped sanctions back in place on Monday to choke Iran’s oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as India and China to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic. Having abandoned a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran’s oil-dependent economy and force Tehran to quash not only its missile and nuclear programmes, but also diminish its influence in the Middle East.
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would continue to sell its oil despite Washington’s “economic war”. Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said US “bullying” was backfiring by making Washington more isolated. Washington has pledged to eventually halt all purchases of crude oil from Iran globally but for now it said eight countries—China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey—can continue imports without penalty. Crude exports contribute one-third of Iran’s government revenues.
“More than 20 importing nations have zeroed out their imports of crude oil already, taking more than 1 million barrels of crude per day off the market,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in a briefing. “The regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billion in oil revenue.”