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April 22, 2019 10:55 am

US Shuts Down Iranian Oil Exports as Pompeo Warns Tehran on ‘Destructive Behavior,’ Denial of ‘Rights of Iranian People’

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a briefing. Photo: Reuters/Erin Scott.

The US government confirmed on Monday that it would not renew the waivers previously granted to eight countries that allowed them to import oil from Iran without facing American sanctions.

The waivers — granted to China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan — were issued last November and were scheduled for renewal on May 2. But in a press briefing at the State Department on Monday morning, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear that renewing the oil waivers was at odds with the policy of increasing pressure on the Tehran regime.

“The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets,” Pompeo said. “We stand by our allies and partners as they transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives.”

Pompeo added that he was confident that supply of oil to the global energy market would not suffer from the decision. “We have had extensive and productive discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers to ease this transition and ensure sufficient supply. This, in addition to increasing US production, underscores our confidence that energy markets will remain well supplied,” he said.

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The Secretary of State vowed that the US would “continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of the Iranian people, and return to the negotiating table.”

Pompeo’s comments were echoed by national security adviser John Bolton, who emphasized that the export of oil is the largest source of revenue for Iran’s ruling Islamists.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warmly welcomed the announcement, declaring in a message on Twitter that Israel stood by “the determination of the US to counter Iranian aggression, and this is the right way to stop it.”

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