US ending sanction waivers for Iran oil imports

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FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2015, file photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens to a question during a news conference in Tehran, Iran. On Monday Feb. 25, 2019, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has resigned. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the U.S. is ending exemptions from sanctions for countries that import Iranian oil.

In a statement, the White House said it was taking “timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to discuss the move at the State Department Monday morning.

The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, won’t be renewed when they expire on May 2.

The move comes as the administration toughens its already strict penalties on Iran by trying to choke off all the revenue the country makes from oil sales.

The waivers had been in place since November, when the administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

They were granted in part to give those countries time to eliminate their purchases of Iranian oil but also to ease any impact on global energy markets with the abrupt removal of Iran’s production.

Pompeo says now that production increases elsewhere will make up for the loss of Iranian oil on the market.

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