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The United States is working closely with China to have it cut off altogether imports of Iranian crude oil, as the U.S. steps up sanctions pressure on the Iranian regime, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, told Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures’.
Despite the U.S. crackdown on Chinese tanker companies dealing with Iranian oil, China continues to import oil from the Islamic Republic, but in much smaller volumes than it used to, before the U.S. ended all waivers for all Iranian oil customers in May last year.
The U.S. has already cut off probably more than 95 percent of Iran’s oil revenues, but China continues to be a big buyer of what Iranian oil exports are left, Mnuchin told Fox News.
Referring to China’s purchases of crude oil from Iran, the Treasury Secretary said:
“They’ve cut off all of the state companies from buying oil, and we’re working closely with them to make sure that they cease all additional oil activities.”
The U.S. continues to target countries and companies which continue to do business with Iran and continue to import oil from Iran, Mnuchin reiterated, noting that everyone—Chinese or European—would face secondary sanctions if they buy oil from Iran.
“We actually sanctioned some of their shipping companies that were involved in the oil, and we will continue to pursue sanctions activities against China and anybody else around the world that continues to do business with them,” Mnuchin told Fox News.
The United States imposed in September 2019 sanctions on a number of
Chinese tanker owning firms and executives for transporting Iranian oil in violation of the U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Europe is complying with the U.S. sanctions on Iran because European firms know that they would be slapped with secondary sanctions if they don’t, Mnuchin said.
The reminder that the U.S. is going after anyone doing business with Iran comes after the most recent flare-up in the Middle East and the expanded sanctions on the Islamic Republic to include individuals and metals and construction companies.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
Moreover, the claim by Mr Mnuchin that the US has already cut off probably more than 95% of Iran’s oil revenues is a plain lie. China which normally accounts for 31% or 687,000 barrels a day (b/d) of total Iranian crude exports had in the last quarter of 2019 lifted its imports of Iranian crude to 1.0 million barrels a day (mbd) at the height of the trade war with the United States.
China has never even for one minute reduced its imports of Iranian crude because of US sanctions. China doesn’t recognize US sanctions and it therefore has ignored them altogether.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London