On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that Iran had filed a complaint against the U.S. with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to "hold [the] US accountable for its unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions.”
"Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy & legal obligations. It's imperative to counter its habit of violating int'l law," his tweet read. Zarif didn’t provide more details, but Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that renewed U.S. sanctions against the country are illegal.
President Trump made the controversial move in May to withdraw the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), usually referred to as the Iran nuclear accord.
One of Trump’s campaign pledges during the 2016 presidential election was to pull out of the accord, which he blasted as being one of the worst deals the country has ever made. The deal for Iran to scale back its nuclear enrichment program was spearheaded and reached under President Obama’s administration in 2015, and included the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU.
Not only will the U.S. renew sanctions against Iran, but Washington claiming it will up the ante even more. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May that sanctions were “just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful… These will be the strongest sanctions in history when complete."
Soon after Trump’s announcement at the time, Iran sought help from all quarters, but with scant success. Moreover, it also found little respite with OPEC due to long standing geopolitical tensions with OPEC defacto leader Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia have taken opposing sides in Syria as well as conflict in Yemen. Related: World’s Biggest Oil Trader Launches Renewables Fund
Iran’s EU moves, however, initially gained traction but ultimately fell apart since EU members have waffled under threat of also being shut of the US financial system. Since the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the US still carries tremendous power by both sanctions and even the threat of sanctions.
Iran has long downplayed Trump's remarks that renewed US sanctions would zero Iran's oil exports, saying such bombastic rhetoric presents a dream which may never come true. "Mr. Trump has talked a lot and has many wishes but certainly, this claim and attempt to stop and zero exports of Iran's oil is bombastic and impossible," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.
At the end of the day, it appears that Tehran may be right. Amid ongoing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, China looks like it will increase its procurement of Iranian oil to offset the impact of U.S. sanctions and to also push back against U.S. tariffs against Chinese imports.
Iran claims it rebuffed Trump
Two days after Iran said that it started ICJ proceedings against the U.S., a high-ranking Iranian official said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had rebuffed eight requests from Trump to meet at the United Nations in New York last September, after Trump made a critical speech against Tehran at the UN General Assembly. Related: Is The U.S. Overly Dependent On Russian Oil?
"During the previous round of his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly (conference), Trump extended 8 requests to the Iranian team for talks and meeting with President Rouhani," Iranian President's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
Iran is OPEC’s third largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, producing around 3.8 million barrels of oil per month, according to some estimates. Re-imposed sanctions could remove as much as 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil from global markets, even up to 1 million bpd, depending on whose forecast you use.
The clock for renewed sanctions against Iran started ticking on May 8 when Trump signed the executive order. The presidential memo kicked off a 180-day countdown timer for the White House to re-impose all of the sanctions on Iran that were relaxed under the Obama-era deal.
By Tim Daiss for Oilprice.com
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