United States President Donald Trump, in a presidential memorandum on Wednesday, said he had determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from other countries to permit a reduction in purchases from Iran.
The US administration’s renewed sanctions on Iran are set to come into effect on November 5. The US expects all countries, including India, to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero by then.
The presidential memorandum is not an executive order but a directive issued by the White House to the members of the administration on policy matters.
Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran’s crude oil exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil, reported Reuters.
“We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” Bolton said. He said the US administration understands that a number of countries, some that are geographically close to Iran and others “may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately”.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the renewed sanctions on Iran will be very severe on the leadership of Iran. “They were squandering the people’s money, the Iranian people’s money, on these silly malign activities,” Pompeo said on a show on Fox News. “And our effort is to get them to change that behaviour.”
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Paladino said the renewed sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as energy, shipping and the ship-building sectors, as well as the provision of insurance and transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions, according to PTI.
Paladino also said the US was prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis. China, India and Turkey have resisted calls by Washington to end their oil purchases outright.
The Indian government has said it is in touch with both the US and Iran ahead of the sanctions and “will do everything possible to safeguard its energy needs”.
In May, Trump had announced that he was pulling the US out of a Barack Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it “decaying and rotten”. In August, he reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran and said that anyone doing business with Iran would not be doing business with the US.