Washington lifts exemptions on Iranian oil. Crude oil at maximum levels
President Trump canceles waivers granted to eight nations and expiring on 2 May. In response, Tehran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz. The White House deals with Saudis and Emirates to ensure an "adequate supply". The effects of the increasingly evident sanctions on the Iranian population.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US President Donald Trump has decided not to renew the exemptions so far granted to eight countries for the import of Iranian oil, with the aim of wiping it from the market.
The White House announced yesterday that the end of waivers [the block exemptions, so far the prerogative of Greece, Taiwan, China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea and Italy], lasting 180 days, is scheduled for next May 2nd.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has confirmed that there will be no extensions after May 1 and that the US administration is already in discussions with the nations involved, to understand how they can renounce importing Tehran's oil.
The leaders of the Islamic Republic responded imeediatley, threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz.
US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),wanted by his predecessor Barack Obama. The JCPOA deal was signed in 2015, but the United States pulled out in May 2018 despite the opposition of the international community. US President Donald Trump followed the withdrawal by imposing the toughest sanctions in history against Iran. The decision has negatively impacted the Iranian economy as noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Oil exports have dropped considerably, which was the goal of the second round of sanctions that came into effect on 4 November. A hard line, although the Islamic Republic continues to honor its commitments under the nuclear agreement, as certified by the IAEA experts.
The White House reports intense talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure "adequate supply" on the markets. However, the first effects are already beginning to be felt with the price of oil rising to the highest levels in the last six months: the Brent gained 3.21%, setting itself at $ 74.28 a barrel; in the United States crude oil reached $ 65.92 a barrel, the highest since October last year.
The choice of the US administration has raised the harsh criticism of China. In a statement, Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expresses his opposition to "unilateral sanctions and wide-ranging jurisdiction". The agreements signed with Tehran, he adds, are "reasonable and legitimate".
Iranian oil exports have fallen to less than one million barrels a day, compared to over 2.5 million in the pre-sanctions era. Washington's goal is to wipe out a sector that, so far, guaranteed at least 50 billion a year to the coffers of the Islamic Republic. A decision that, experts warn, risks hitting the weakest part of Iranian society that has already experienced a significant drop in the quality of life. Iran has entered a recession in 2018 and by 2019 it is estimated that the gross domestic product will decrease by a further 3.6%. In fact, to pay the bill is the population crushed by the weight of the crisis in a conflict that it cannot control.
The effect of the sanctions, explains a Tehran trader, can be seen in the bazaars and in the markets where "people are getting poorer and have no money" even to buy basic necessities. He is echoed by an entrepreneur, who fears for his job: "We had to lay off employees", even young people between the ages of 25 and 35 whose hope "is growing less and less".