Iran greeted the re-imposition of USA sanctions on Monday with air defense drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani the nation faces a "war situation", raising Mideast tensions as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.
House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer said, "Rather than achieving its stated goal of eliminating Iran's oil exports altogether, the administration has issued "exemptions" for major Iranian oil importers, allowing Iran to earn billions of dollars from oil sale". Gholamali Khoshroo called on Antonio Gooteresh to uphold the rule of law.
The new sanctions particularly hurt Iran's vital oil industry, which provides a crucial source of hard currency.
As US sanctions created to push Iran's oil exports to zero came into effect on Tuesday, the hardline initially signaled by President Donald Trump softened as the deadline approached.
"The U.S. administration appears to believe that imposing illegal draconian sanctions on Iran will bring about such pain to our nation that it will force us to submit to its will, no matter how absurd, unlawful or fundamentally flawed its demands are".
South Korea, one of Asia's biggest buyers of Iranian oil, had asked Washington for an exemption, given that petrochemicals are key to its economy and the sanctions would exact a toll on the country's businesses. I could get the Iran oil down to zero immediately, but it would cause a shock to the market.
"These sanctions hit at the core areas of Iran's economy", he told reporters Friday.
The newly reinstated sanctions target Iran's energy, financial and shipping sectors and are aimed at forcing Iran to end ballistic missile program and end its support for armed movements throughout the Middle East.
The new sanctions were lifted under the Obama administration's 2015 nuclear deal, which was also signed by the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russian Federation. The list targets more than 700 entities, including individuals, banks, aircraft and vessels.
The 180-day period came to a close this week, restoring a heavier slate of sanctions on Iran than a first round that went into effect after the 90-day grace period.
"Eight countries will receive sanctions waivers, however, including four of Iran's top oil consumers: India, China, South Korea and Japan", the Jerusalem Post acknowledges, referring to the new USA restrictions.
Pompeo announced on Friday that the administration would allow several countries to continue importing Iranian oil beyond its November 4 deadline. Among those are 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, and more than 200 people and ships. "This is part of the Trump team's trying to balance its maximum pressure campaign against Iran versus its concerns over where the global prices of oil might go and how that could negatively impact everyone including America". All of them lobbied heavily to be granted the six-month exemptions while promising to further reduce or end their imports and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the waivers were based on the specific circumstances of each and the need "to ensure a well-supplied oil market". So far this year, the United States has sent 873,420 tonnes of soybeans to Iran, according to Bloomberg.
Countries that have already cut their purchases to zero are now being granted waivers to buy Iranian oil.
Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis.
"Banks, with all their power, and by using their experience in the previous round of sanctions, should take steps to preserve and support the foreign trade process and financial transfers", he said.