The United States will impose sanctions on any country that imports Iranian oil and there are no exemptions in place, the U.S. special envoy for Iran said on Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump targeted the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other top regime officials with sanctions on Monday, taking an unprecedented step to increase pressure on Iran’s regime after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone last week.
“We will sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil,” Brian Hook said when asked about the sale of Iranian crude to Asia, adding that the United States would take a look at reports of Iranian crude going to China.
“There are right now no oil waivers in place,” Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, told reporters in London. “We will sanction any illicit purchases of Iranian crude oil.”
The Iranian regime has been selling increased volumes of petrochemical products at below market rates in countries including Brazil, China and India since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November, Reuters reported this month.
“Iran does have a history of using front companies to evade sanctions and enrich the regime and fund its foreign adventurism,” Hook said, adding that the Iranian regime routinely violates maritime law to hide its oil exports.
Last year, Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational deal under which sanctions on the Iranian regime were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear programme, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Washington has since re-imposed tough sanctions on Tehran, aiming to cut the regime’s oil sales to zero to force it to negotiate a broader deal that would also cover its ballistic missile capabilities and terrorist activities in the region.
“Iran has just rejected diplomacy too many times,” Hook said. “They have got to stop this sectarian agenda of creating a Shia corridor of power to dominate the Middle East.”