On July 18, 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal, the US is weighing new sanctions on Iran’s oil sales to China as a way to pressure Tehran to commit to a nuclear deal.
After the TRUMP administration imposed full sanctions on Iran’s oil exports in May 2019, Chinese daily import of Iranian crude dropped to under 100.000 barrels a day, but in mid-2020 it started to increase to close to one million barrels.
US negotiators and UE partners continue to work in Vienna, Austria to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 agreement that curbs Iran’s Nuclear Program in exchange for the lifting of some of the sanctions Tehran faces.
But as those negotiations stall, the US is mulling alternative options to encourage Iran to stay at the negotiating table or up the cost of leaving it, US officials and people familiar with the matter, told the Wall Street Journal.
The Iran’s main oil client is China. In the plan under consideration, the US would take aim at Iran’s oil sales to China by targeting shipping networks that help export an estimated one million barrels per day, officials told the WSJ.
One US official said: “There is not much left to sanction in Iran’s economy. Iran’s oil sales to China are the prize”.
The plan would also involve “the aggressive enforcement of current sanctions already banning dealings with Iran’s oil and shipping industry through new designations or legal actions” the report said.
According to Wall Street Journal, The US would aggressively enforce current sanctions already banning dealings with Iran’s oil and shipping sectors through strong enforcement and legal action.
Ebrahim RAISI Iran’s president-elect, who will be inaugurated next month, has said that Tehran will not agree to the nuclear deal without the lifting of US sanctions first.
Seyed Abbas ARAGHCHI, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister wrote on twitter: “We’re in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is underway in our capital”. “Vienna talks must thus obviously await our new administration. This is what every democracy demands”.
“US & UK need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange—ready to be implemented—with the JCPOA. Keeping such an exchange hostage to political aims achieves neither. TEN PRISONERS on all sides may be released TOMORROW if US&UK fulfill their part of deal” ARAGHCHI added in a second tweet referred to the JCPOA.
This article was edited using the data from Aljazeera.com, Ilna.news, Algulf.net, Wsj.com and Timesofisrael.com.