Some US foreign, defense officials and experts have warned that President Donald Trump’s decision to end the sanctions exemption for five countries still buying Iranian oil could trigger a negative reaction by causing double effects in countries such as China, Turkey and Iraq.
Greece, Italy and Taiwan have stopped buying Iranian oil, but China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey have continued to buy Iranian oil.
Economic pressure has cut Iranian oil exports from more than 2.5 million barrels a day to less than 1 million barrels, with a decline in international investment, led to the depreciation of Iranian currency and rising inflation.
US officials and experts said the stepped-up attack on Iran’s economy may trigger Tehran from supporting terrorist organizations or forcing its rulers to renegotiate an agreement that halted their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and would not weaken the Revolutionary Guard.
Aron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, said that if Trump’s strategy was to change the system or force Iran to retreat in the region, the final step would not achieve any goal. This could eventually lead Iran to give the administration an excuse to do the job.
Two US officials have criticized the administration’s policy toward Iran, saying it has not thought much about the potential effects of the policy on spot markets or on other countries such as China, India, Turkey and Iraq, which would now be sanctioned if they continued to import Iranian oil.