NIAC Statement on End to Oil Waivers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 22, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mmostatabi@niacouncil.org

Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), issued the following statement regarding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that the U.S. would terminate waivers for foreign nations purchasing Iranian oil – including China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea:

“The tail is wagging the dog on Trump’s Middle East policy, with U.S. actions dictated entirely by the interests of Middle East autocracies vested in a proxy war. The decision to end oil waivers will make the United States and global economy increasingly dependent on the Saudi and UAE autocracies that are driving Trump’s escalation and have promised to backfill the oil gap that results. This foolhardy move comes on the heels of President Trump using his veto pen to protect Saudi Arabia and block legislation passed overwhelmingly by Congress to end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen.

“Trump’s so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign is destroying the livelihoods of ordinary Iranians and creating an increasingly intolerable situation for the country. Indeed, the decision to end Iranian oil waivers comes as large parts of Iran are reeling from devastating floods that have displaced hundreds of thousands. Instead of ensuring that U.S. sanctions aren’t obstructing humanitarian aid to flood victims, Trump is now piling on even more economic pressure on the Iranian people.

“The unprecedented decision to try to eliminate Iranian oil exports—the lifeblood of the country’s economy—evokes the U.S.-supported British blockade of Iran in the lead up to the 1953 coup against democratically-elected Prime Minister Mossadegh. This ugly historical parallel has not deterred the Trump White House, which is seemingly following the same playbook to force Iran to leave the nuclear deal and set off a reciprocal escalation cycle that risks war.

“Iranian leaders have until now worked with other global powers to preserve the nuclear deal and wait out the Trump administration. The attempt now to forgo oil waivers and spur Iran’s economic collapse signals a desperate attempt to coerce Iran to restart its nuclear program in order to invite a dire confrontation. Trump is bizarrely set on this destructive policy even as it threatens U.S. security and risks American voters digging deeper into their pockets to pay for rising gas prices.

“U.S.-Iran tensions have reached a precipice. By now it should be clear that the Trump administration’s obsession with Iran is beyond any semblance of strategic logic and has no attainable policy objective short of increasing the Iranian peoples’ suffering. The decision to sanction importers of Iranian oil will now put the U.S. at further loggerheads with powers such as Turkey, India, and China. Their willingness to resist or placate the administration’s demands will decide not only the course of U.S.-Iran relations, but the future of U.S. economic power.”

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