The U.S. State Department said that it expects all countries to reduce their imports of Iranian oil to zero, and it gave a deadline of last November. It initially said that no waivers would be granted, but it then declared that the biggest importers would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In all, eight countries received waivers so that they could continue to import Iranian oil, albeit much less than they previously had done.
The current waivers expire for these countries that include South Korea, India, China and Japan in May and they are already pressing for further waivers. Currently, these countries have cut their imports to more than half of what they were importing before the November deadline.

The waivers on oil exports end on 4th May and the State Department has confirmed that all SRE (significant reduction exemptions) must be completed by this date. It is possible, but has not been confirmed by State Department officials, that further waivers may be granted if the United States is happy that the country in question is complying with its vow to significantly reduce the amount of oil that it has imported from Iran in the previous 180 days.

A spokesperson for the State Department, however, reaffirmed the administration’s aims with regards to sanctions on Iranian oil. They said: “Our goal remains to get to zero oil purchases from Iran as quickly as possible. We will continue working with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis.”

The sanctions on Iran are proving to be effective and the impact on the global oil industry has been lesser than some analysts predicted. Other countries are pushing to make up for the loss of Iranian oil from the market.

Should the United States continue to pressure Iran and not relent on its sanctions, there is every hope that the Iranian regime will be forced to cut its funding of belligerence across the Middle East.

Although the people of Iran are inevitably negatively affected by the tough economic sanctions, they at the same time, welcome the pressure that they are putting the regime under. For years, the people have been neglected at the expense of the regime’s exploits abroad and they are determined for this to change.

For the people, the ultimate goal is regime change. They know that the clerical regime is incapable of reforming or becoming more moderate. Increasing the pressure on the regime domestically is their way of pushing the regime so hard that its collapse is inevitable.

During the whole of 2018, the people of Iran took to the streets to make the regime hear their concerns and to denounce the corruption that it has been responsible for – the corruption that is destroying their country. While the people get poorer and poorer, the regime officials get richer and richer.