PRC Tells Yanquis to Shove It On Iran Oil Imports

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 8/05/2018 04:11:00 PM
Truly *independent* countries--from American influence, at least--are free to buy Iranian oil.
It's odd that Trump campaigned on American isolationism--withdrawing from misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, et cetera--and then to see his actions on Iran. Being the archetypal Stuck in the 80s sort of guy, Trump seems to have an odd fixation on bashing Iran. Famously leaving the agreement struck on Iranian compliance on limiting enriched nuclear materials in exchange for lifting sanctions, the United States wants to get its way when none of the other signatories to the JCPOA agreement have left it.

The oddity here is that the United States wants everyone else to follow through with re-implementing sanctions on Iran. If this isn't a prime example of playing "globocop" and busybodying in world politics, then I don't know what is. Given the commercial ties of countries like Western European ones with the United States, it's certainly difficult for them to ignore American pressure to stop buying Iranian fuel. For instance, the Germans may chafe at the neophyte US ambassador telling them to stop buying Iranian fuel, but they ultimately will have to comply lest they face American economic sanctions.

Thankfully, though, there is someone bucking the trend. What's more, it's a JCPOA signatory, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and now the largest buyer of Iranian oil. Yes, I am talking about China:
The U.S. has been unable to persuade China to cut Iranian oil imports, according to two officials familiar with the negotiations, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic after his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord...

Teams of U.S. officials have been visiting capitals around the world to try to choke off sales of Iranian oil by early November, when U.S. sanctions are due to snap back into effect. While the Trump administration has said it wants to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by Nov. 4, most analysts viewed that target as unlikely.

Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, according to a State Department spokesperson. Unfazed, the administration has warned that even allies would face sanctions if they didn’t show “significant” progress in reducing Iranian oil purchases by Nov. 4, ruling out broad exemptions or waivers.
Instead of putting the brakes on its Iranian oil purchases, China has hit the gas instead. Sanctions, if applied, would not be against PRC entities with significant American trade. So, Yanquis pressuring the Chinese has been less effective:
China -- the world’s top crude buyer and Iran’s No. 1 customer -- has said previously that it opposed unilateral sanctions and lifted monthly oil imports from the country by 26 percent in July. It accounted for 35 percent the Iranian exports last month, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
You can hardly expect the Chinese to become even more compliant / subservient to the United States on this matter given their ongoing trade war fisticuffs. I am not particularly fond of the Iranian leadership's blowhard stances just as I am not of Trump's. However, I do think it unfair to punish Iran's government for living up to JCPOA's commitments. Obviously, the wealthiest country in the world bullying a developing country trying to play by the rules doesn't strike me as an exemplary event, even if Iran's leadership certainly has many foibles.

But then again, what can we say about American "leadership" that relishes separating refugee seekers' children from their parents and then throwing them into cages like cattle?