‘Watch what we do’, US tells Iran crude buyers India and China
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‘Watch what we do’, US tells Iran crude buyers India and China

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said the Donald Trump administration is committed to reducing Iranian crude imports by its major buyers China and India to “zero” and warned ominously, but without specifics, “watch what we do”.

world Updated: Nov 05, 2018 12:36 IST
Hindustan Times, Washington
United States,Iran,India
Eight countries, described as “jurisdictions”, will be granted a temporary exemption as they reduce their orders, Mike Pompeo had announced last Friday without identifying them.(Reuters)

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said the Trump administration is committed to reducing Iranian crude imports by its major buyers China and India to “zero” and warned ominously, but without specifics, “watch what we do”.

The second, and final round of, US sanctions go into effect on Monday, specifically targeting Iran’s crude oil exports, shipping and ports and the financial system. Eight countries, described as “jurisdictions”, will be granted a temporary exemption as they reduce their orders, Pompeo had announced last Friday without identifying them.

India and China are among them, according to officials, but an announcement is expected on Monday.

“Watch what we do,” Pompeo said in an interview to Fox News in response to a direct question if the United States has a firm commitment from China and India that they will reduce their intake to zero in six months, the duration of the exemption.

“Watch as we have already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in the previous history,” he added, referring to the one million barrel reduction in Iranian oil exports already.

“Watch the efforts that President Trump’s policies have achieved.” He added that “the march to zero continues”.

The secretary of state dismissed suggestions from experts, cited by the Fox New interviewer, that India and China will never stop buying oil from Iran.

“There are a lot of experts … that said President Trump’s policy wouldn’t have any impact because it was just the United States and other countries weren’t participating,” Pompeo said.

“I am very confident that the sanctions that will be reimposed this Monday … will have the intended effect to alter the Iranian regime’s behaviour. That’s our expectation,” he added.

In another interview that also aired on Sunday, this one to CBS News, Pompeo made clear that secondary sanctions for violating the Iran curbs will apply only to specific entities and not their countries.

“That’s right,” he said to a question if the US actions will apply to companies that do business with Iran and not countries.

“These sanctions apply to those who conduct sanctionable transactions. The treasury has a set of sanctions, the state department has its own set of sanctions, and those will all come back into place on Monday.”

First Published: Nov 05, 2018 10:02 IST