Israel Hails Re-imposed American Sanctions, As Iran Vows To Continue Oil Sales
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed Monday’s re-introduction of American sanctions on Iran’s crucial energy, banking and shipping sectors, describing the move as a “sea-change” in the Middle East and a “critical blow” to Tehran’s goal of entrenching itself militarily in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, also weighed in, calling on European nations to abide by the new financial penalties and to forego efforts to devise mechanisms that would allow businesses on the continent to continue purchasing Iranian crude. While President Donald Trump previously aimed to bring Iranian oil exports “down to zero,” he nevertheless has granted partial waivers to at least eight countries, including China, India, Turkey, South Korea and Japan, although the latter two are expected to fully cut-off their imports in the near future. Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani struck a defiant tone, vowing to bust the sanctions that “the enemy [U.S.] is [using to] target our economy.” On Sunday, thousands of Iranians attended a state-sponsored demonstration outside the building in Tehran that once housed the U.S. embassy, where fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution for 444 days beginning November 4, 1979. Protesters chanted “Death to America,” burned posters of President Trump and called for the destruction of the Jewish state. The U.S. leader in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and moved to re-impose financial pressure on Iran with a view to curbing its “nefarious” regional expansionism and ballistic missile program. Analysts expect Iranian oil exports of some 2.5 million barrels per day to plunge by 1-2 million bpd as a result of the new sanctions. To avert a major rise in market prices, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, its oil-producing Gulf allies have taken measures to ramp up production.