US bid to sanction China shows its failed policy toward Iran: Analyst


Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:54AM

A move by the United States to impose sanctions against China for importing crude oil from Iran shows Washington has failed in its “maximum pressure policy toward” the Islamic Republic, says a political analyst.

Senior Donald Trump administration officials are pushing sanctions against China claiming the Asian power defied American sanctions when it imported more than a million barrels of crude oil from Iran last month, according to three US officials.

The US State Department had considered using an Obama-era loophole to issue a waiver allowing Chinese companies to receive Iranian oil as payment for their investment in an Iranian oil field, violating the Trump administration’s earlier pledge to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero. The plan, however, has been discarded.

Now, hawkish officials on the US National Security Council are considering imposing sanctions on Chinese entities amid already worsening ties between the two countries on trade issues, the Politico website reported on Thursday.

This move “illustrates the bankruptcy of America’s maximum pressure policy toward Iran,” James Jatras, a former Senate foreign policy adviser in Washington, told Press TV on Friday.

“Threatening sanctions against china is not a small thing and I think that’s one reason some people within the administration were anxious to avoid it.”

He went on to say that the Trump administration officials “cannot come to grips with is that they are overextending American power and credibility by threatening things that they simply are not in a position to carry out.”

The Trump administration has been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero to increase “maximum pressure” on Tehran. It has had some success in persuading several of Iran’s largest oil buyers like India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey to curb their purchases but it could not achieve its stated objective of bringing Iran’s crude exports to zero.

As Iran’s largest oil buyer, China has defied the Trump administration’s demand that it gradually bring the imports to zero. Some of the countries, which have robust trade, diplomatic and security relationship with the US, are still buying significant volumes of Iranian oil.

Much of the rhetoric from the State Department has specified that the US is targeting purchases — rather than imports — of Iranian oil, a distinction that will become important under the law if the department decides to give China a pass.

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