Sputnik – The United States announced on Monday that there will be no more exemptions from sanctions for countries buying Iranian oil. The White House issued a statement saying: “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”
Sputnik discussed what this means for Iran with Professor Foad Izadi from Tehran University.
Sputnik: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that US is ending sanction waivers for countries like Turkey and other global powers which currently allow them to purchase Iranian oil, how is it going to affect Iran as an oil producer?
Foad Izadi: You know Iran was producing about 2.5 million barrels of oil every day before the US got out of the nuclear agreement, and because of the US pressure, this production is about 1 million now about 1.5 million less than what we had last year, before the US got out of the nuclear agreement. Obviously US sanctions on Iran are hurting Iran’s oil exports, what the US government announced today was that it was stopping the waivers that it was giving to some of Iran’s oil buyers and they already have some of these countries objecting, the Chinese government, the Turkish government, that have been buying oil from Iran, have been opposing this US policy because it is illegal. The US is dictating to sovereign, independent countries what to do with their international trade.
The US Congress wants to pass laws that foreign non-US companies have to follow, and this is violating the sovereignty of these countries. Because of the nuclear agreement, the UN sanctions were lifted, so the sanctions that exist are US sanctions. The US is welcome to pressure American companies not to trade with Iran but the US has no right to pressure countries and companies that are not American to not work with Iran, because that’s a violation of international law, and that’s why some of the countries that are buying Iranian oil are objecting. I doubt what the US announced today (Monday) will actually work. The aim is to make Iran oil exports zero and I doubt that they’re actually going to be able to do that.
Sputnik: You mentioned that oil production in Iran had fallen from 2.5 million to 1 million; do you think this new US policy will also affect the production of Iranian oil and it will drop?
Foad Izadi: What we are hearing from the buyers is that they’re not going to follow the US government in its failed policies towards Iran. They don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be trading with Iran. Based on what we’re hearing from these governments, the US is not going to be effective in achieving this goal.
Sputnik: The Trump administration, just less than two weeks ago, proclaimed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation, now these oil sanctions, do you think this is just a new wave of the Trump administration’s dealings with Iran?
Foad Izadi: Yes, they call it a “maximum pressure campaign”, so they are using all available tools to pressure Iranian government, and they have not been successful so far. They wanted Iran to surrender to US demands, they wanted to overthrow the Iranian government, they have not been able to do that, they wanted to get major concessions from Iran if the Iranian government was not overthrown and they have not been able to get any concessions from the Iranian government. The US policies have failed so far, so they’re just following the failed policies and creating more difficulties.
Sputnik: Do you expect other steps by the Trump administration, more sanctions, etc.?
Foad Izadi: They will continue this type of sanction activities as long as they’re in power, because their aim is to overthrow the Iranian government or to get major concessions from it and they’re not going to be able to do that, I think.
Sputnik: How will these new sanctions and keeping pressure on Iran influence Iranian society inside the country? Is it a good time for conservatives in Iran who are saying we shouldn’t have had a dialogue in the first place or is it maybe for those who are saying no we still need to keep up a dialogue with the United States?
Foad Izadi: No one in Iran has a problem with dialogue, the problem that people have is that this dialogue has not been resulting in anything positive, and it took many years to reach the nuclear agreement, and the US just got out without any proper reason. So the Rouhani administration is under pressure from public opinion and from other politicians to deliver some of the promises that they made after the nuclear agreement, and obviously they’re not able to fulfil those promises because of the United States government. So they’re under pressure but at the same time a lot of Iranians understand that the reason why the Rouhani administration are not able to deliver, because of the United States and because of Trump, not because of Rouhani. They’re not blaming him as much as they’re blaming Mr. Trump.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.