By Mohammad Ghaderi - Twitter: @ghaderi62 - Email: m.ghaderi62@gmail.com

How Trump’s oil plans backfires on him

April 25, 2019

TEHRAN - As expected, Donald Trump, the U.S. president didn’t extend sanctions exemptions to nine countries importing oil from Iran including India, China, Turkey, South Korea and Japan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision was intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero and dial up economic pressure on the country.

The decision led to grave consequences from the very beginning: oil price jumped by 3% and the oil experts expressed strong doubt that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can make up the difference in oil to ensure that global markets were not unsettled.

Here there are some point that are worth mentioning:

1.     The Washington’s recent blatant move to hamper Iran’s oil sales was based on Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Iran, rather than universal  multilateral sanctions; this will not only undermine the legality and credibility of the Trump’s decision but it will also restrain its real practical effects. In such an environment, the Islamic Republic of Iran will have more freedom to sell oil “indirectly” or “with using mediators” and this means that Trump, Pompeo and Bolton will not reach their goal that is to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.

2.    Washington’s move to end sanctions exemptions has led to objections from countries importing oil from Iran. Even countries such as Japan and South Korea that are Washington’s allies in East Asia have voiced their objections to this decision and insist to continue negotiating with the White House, so that importing oil from Iran will get back to its normal routine.

Countries such as Turkey and China have taken a stronger stand, saying that they will not follow Trump’s scandalous decision. They are, on one hand, worried about the oil market’s future conditions and on the other hand think that the White House decision is against the principle of making multilateral decisions in international arena.  

3.    The story doesn’t end here! Even though it seems that the conflict between Iran, U.S. and its two followers, Saudi Arabia and UAE, is only about oil but the conflict can expand to other fields as well. Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi can’t possibly expect that after their activities against Iran in oil market, Iran’s response will be limited to “oil and energy sector”! Iran will make smart, calculated moves to ensure that U.S. and its allies will face the consequences of their activities in other fields. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s meaningful silence is just a preliminary stage when Iran prepares its serious and effective response for the ones who devised this oil scheme against it.

4.    The U.S. recent move against Iran by ending sanctions exemption is an official end to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After Trump unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA in May, the agreement lost most of its effects, but it was still in place; anyhow, now that the U.S. has imposed extensive sanctions against Iran’s oil, there is no reason for the Islam Republic to stay in this agreement.

On the other hand, the reaction of European Union to the U.S. recent decision shows that the European troika has no intention to maintain its nuclear agreement with Iran. In the meantime, Federica Mogherini, the president of the UN Foreign Affairs Council and the chairwoman of JCPOA Joint Commission, had the audacity to remain completely silent. This indicates that there has been a clandestine agreement between Washington and the European Union member states in regard to sanctions against Iran’s oil. Clearly, in this situation, Iran’s foreign ministry should officially stop JCPOA talks with the Europe and prepare to totally withdraw from JCPOA.  

5.    Considering the strong role of “mediators” in selling Iran’s oil in unofficial international markets, it seems that under current circumstances, approving the four bills to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will only strengthen the West in using repressive measures and controlling tools to further prevent Iran from selling its oil.
Ending the sanctions exemptions to countries importing oil from Iran and designation of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps as a terrorist organization by Trump administration leaves no room for anybody in Iran to defend the approval of FATF bills.

In this regard, Iran needs to take a strong stand and rule out the possibility of approving the UN Convention on Transnational Crime (Palermo bill) and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), unless U.S. revise its two recent anti-Iran measures.

6.    Evidently, Trump has started a dangerous game against the Islamic Republic of Iran; a game that the White House started but its end will not be determined by Trump or his allies. Let’s remember that Washington has already made wrong predictions about reaching its goals with pressuring Iran’s economy. Following Washington’s withdrawal from JCPOA in May, Trump had claimed two critical time periods that would force Iran into economic collapse, predicting that they are likely to be in August and November. Washington high-ranking officials had also claimed that based on realistic and expert analysis that they have made, Iran will experience a major economic and political collapse by November 2018! It goes without doubt that once again Washington is doing another ill-fated attempt in starting an oil conflict with Iran. However, this failure will have far heavier costs for the U.S. compared to the last year.

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