The US Treasury plans to impose sanctions on Russia and China, as well as against some European countries, for importing Iranian oil, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee North-America.
“We intend to apply sanctions against them [China], as well as against Russia, Europe and others, because of Iranian oil,” the senior official explained when asked by lawmakers about possible retaliation against Beijing for the purchase of hydrocarbons from Iran.
On Tuesday, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Iran “will sell as much oil as it can” despite US efforts to reduce Iran’s exports.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, which requires Tehran to maintain a peaceful nuclear program in return for ending sanctions. Washington also decided to reintroduce restrictive measures against the Islamic Republic. Other nations signatories to the agreement did not support the US decision.
According to the Trump government, one of the goals of the new sanctions is to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero “until Iran behaves like a normal country.”
Trump’s actions represent “a shot in the foot“, because nothing good will come out of these sanctions, which will be counterproductive, said specialist Christopher Steinitz.
Not entering the debate on what the US considers normal, Steinitz warned that the first mistake in the application of sanctions is to assume that they will work.
Hopes that this will happen are few, he said, because the power of the measures lies in the number of countries that respect them and “several countries have already said they do not plan to do so,” he said. Among them are Turkey, India and China, all important partners in Tehran.
“Turkey has a long history of importing sanctioned oil from Iraq and Iran and is under no obligation to comply with US sanctions.” Although Washington may impose sanctions on Turkey, such actions would cost Turkey’s aid in the fight against Iran in Syria,” Steinitz explained in his article for The Hill.