Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would not be renewing any waivers, meaning that every country continuing to import Iranian oil after the 1st May deadline would face consequences.
Turkish officials had strongly criticised the United States’ move. Turkey was one of the countries that had been granted a six-month waiver.
However, despite the rhetoric from Ankara, the country is now fully compliant and will no longer allow Iranian oil to enter Turkish ports. Iran was Turkey’s main oil supplier.
Nevertheless, Tupras, the biggest oil refiner in Turkey, has requested an extension of the waiver, but made it very clear that it would not import Iranian oil if it was not granted.
Data indicates that Turkey started to cut down imports of Iranian oil over the past few months, and its supply has now been replaced by oil from Russia, Iraq and Kazakhstan.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has previously slammed the sanctions, saying they are destabilising for the region. In Washington last month, his spokesman said the country didn’t want to be deprived of its right to buy oil and gas from Iran.
The Turkish foreign minister also weighed in on the decision, saying that the country was being given a very short timeframe to get other suppliers – a mission that could well be impossible.
When President Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he made it very clear that it was because of Iran’s ongoing interference in the affairs of other nations and its support of terrorist groups and militias across the region.
When he announced that oil sanctions were to be imposed, he said that the goal is to cut the regime off from the revenue that it uses to fund terrorist groups and activities.
It is a move that has been welcomed by many, not least the long-suffering people of Iran. The more pressure that the regime is under, the more it will be forced to cut back on its belligerent activities. For the people of Iran, less revenue means less can be spent on domestic oppression.
It appears that the Trump administration’s goal is being met because reports indicate that the Lebanese Hezbollah group is not able to pay its fighters or provide them with the benefits they are used to. Many fighters are being sent home or put on reserve so that the salary bill can be lowered. Expense packages that senior fighters were awarded are no longer applicable and the group has been forced to call for public donations.
It appears that the oil sanctions are working as they were intended.