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The United States said Monday that it will no longer exempt any countries from its sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on the Iranian regime in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey.

President Donald Trump made the decision as part of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran’s regime that aims to eliminate all of its revenue from oil exports that the U.S. says funds destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and beyond.

“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the White House said in a statement.

Announcing the step, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said no more sanctions waivers would be granted when the current batch expire on May 2, choking off the Iranian regime’s income that had been more than $50 billion a year.

“The goal remains simply: To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilize the Middle East for decades and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

“We will no longer grant any exemptions,” Pompeo said. “We are going to zero, we’re going to zero across the board.”

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, on Monday responded to the U.S. decision, pointing out in a series of tweets that the Iranian people and Resistance have been calling for imposition of an oil and arms embargo on the mullahs’ anti-human, anti-Iranian regime for the past four decades.

The U.S. administration had granted eight waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian regime in November after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal. The waivers were issued in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude. Three of those waivers, for Greece, Italy and Taiwan, are no longer needed because they have all halted their imports of Iranian oil.

Maryam Rajavi said in a tweet, oil is a national treasure and must be put in the service of the Iranian people’s welfare and advancement, but the mullahs either plunder it or spend it on suppression and exporting terrorism and war.

Mrs Rajavi said that oil embargo and blacklisting of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) must be complemented by other measures, including recognition of the right of the Iranian people and Resistance to overthrow the religious dictatorship, designating other elements of repression in Iran, and expelling agents of the regime’s Intelligence Ministry and IRGC from the US and Europe.

Maryam Rajavi further called for the referral of the regime’s human rights dossier, including the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, to the United Nations Security Council.

Mrs. Rajavi also called for the establishment of international delegations to visit political prisoners in Iran, expelling the mullahs’ regime from the UN, recognizing the representation of the Iranian Resistance and evicting the regime and its forces from countries in the region.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had long lobbied for the step, applauded the end of oil waivers.

“This decision will deprive the ayatollahs of billions of dollars that they would have spent undermining the security of the United States and our allies, building up Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and financing global terrorism,” he said.

Source » ncr-iran

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