Background

The U.S. could impose economic sanctions against five countries as early as May 2 if they do not halt their imports of crude oil from Iran, according to a recent announcement from the State Department.

In August 2018 the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement designed to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. The administration then reinstated in November a number of Iran-related sanctions, including a prohibition on foreign country purchases of crude oil from Iran. A six-month waiver from that ban was granted to allow the eight largest buyers of such oil to continue importing limited amounts, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced April 22 that those waivers (known as significant reduction exceptions) will not be renewed when they expire May 1.

As a result, the U.S. could begin imposing economic sanctions as early as May 2 against countries that received waivers unless they halt their imports of crude oil from Iran. Press sources note that Greece, Italy, and Taiwan have already done so but that China, Japan, Korea, India, and Turkey have not. Several of those countries reportedly expressed concern about the U.S. move and may not comply.

According to the State Department, sanctions could include losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the U.S. or U.S. companies.

Click here to register for ST&R’s upcoming webinar reviewing this and other aspects of the U.S. sanctions against Iran.

For more information on the Iran sanctions and how to make sure your business is in compliance, please contact Kristine Pirnia at (202) 730-4964.

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