Oil prices mostly unaffected by maximum pressure campaign on Iran

Global oil prices remain largely unchanged despite the recent move by the Trump administration to apply maximum pressure on Iran by not renewing sanctions waivers for Iranian oil exports. The International Monetary Fund projects that the sanctions could fuel inflation in Iran to 50 percent, the highest level since 1980. Before the U.S. announcement, the IMF had expected Iranian inflation to average 37 percent.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a conversation with The Hill‘s Bob Cusack at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.: “We’ve worked with alternative suppliers including alternative suppliers for the countries that we didn’t grant waivers to. We’ve worked on alternative suppliers here in the United States of America. We produce as much crude oil as anybody out there… But with respect to the absence of the granting of waivers and what others may do, sovereign nations make their own choices; individual businesses inside of that will make their own choices. What we can do is prepare a sanctions regime that makes it incredibly costly, and so companies that choose to violate the sanctions that we have in place… we will ensure that they are held accountable for the violations that they engage in. It’s pretty straightforward.”

Maria Jeffrey, a spokesperson for Sen. Cruz (R-TX) tells JI, “Sen. Cruz believes that maximum pressure should mean maximum pressure. That includes taking away Iran’s waivers for raking in billions in oil sales, and it was always clear that global energy markets would be able to adjust without increasing prices.”

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz emails: “The oil markets are well supplied and buyers have other options apart from Iranian crude. As long as the Saudis and Emiratis step in to replace Iranian barrels, prices should remain stable and the maximum pressure campaign against Iranian oil exports can be intensified.”

By Jacob Kornbluh in New York

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