The White House has announced it will end exemptions from sanctions for countries buying oil from Iran. Waivers for China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey are set to expire in May and those countries could face US sanctions themselves. The US move is aimed at significantly reducing Iranian oil exports which are the government's main source of revenue.
While Japan and South Korea have halted or sharply decreased imports of Iranian oil, China and Turkey have slammed the US decision. Beijing, in particular, has said that its trade with Iran is legal and that the US has no right to interfere. Turkey said it cannot cut its ties with Iran as it's a neighbouring country and that the oil imports are badly needed. According to Bloomberg's Tanker Tracking, China imported 613,000 barrels or Iranian oil per day in March, while South Korea and India imported 387,000 and 258,000 respectively.
The move to end waivers resulted in the price of global benchmark crude rising 3.33 percent to $74.37 in trading on Monday, its highest level since 1 November 2018. The commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ navy threatened to close the strategically important Strait of Hormuz passageway if Tehran is barred from using it, a move the US has said would be unacceptable.
First Published: IST