While Obama kept easing pressure on Iran, Trump keeps raising it.
The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, officials said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2, three U.S. officials said. The others are China and India.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to U.S. sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil.
There are three components to this.
1. Reliable allies like Japan, India and South Korea are likely to prioritize their relationships with the US over Iranian oil.
2. China is already in an economic war with the US. This is another aspect of it. And the question is whether the PRC will escalate.
3. Turkey is part of an Islamist axis which, these days, is entangled with Iran. And Turkey's economic downturn has made it genuinely dependent on Iranian oil.
Erdogan, Turkey's brutal Islamist tyrant, has made it very clear that the oil will flow. And that means Turkey will face more sanctions even as its regime is tottering economically and politically. The sanctions won't bring down Erdogan, but they will further strike at Turkey's vulnerable economy. And they might help bring down two Islamist regimes, rather than just one.