Front Page Mag: During his presidential run, Donald Trump argued that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially known as the Iran deal, was among the worst deals ever negotiated by the United States with a foreign power and promised to withdraw from the JCPOA if elected. In May 2018, Trump kept his word but granted waivers to eight countries to continue purchasing Iranian oil. In May 2019 those waivers expired, further constricting Iran’s ability to export oil.
Sanctions instantly affected all aspects of the Iranian economy including its banking sector. The U.S. Treasury Department succeeded in disconnecting Iran’s banking industry from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). SWIFT enables banks to communicate with each other and facilitates international transactions. Even if rogue nations, like Turkey, attempted to skirt sanctions and purchase Iranian contraband, it would be nearly impossible for Iran to receive payment given its cutoff from SWIFT.
Iran’s economy is contracting and its currency is in freefall. It is estimated that the ban on oil exports alone is costing the regime some $35 billion a year and that’s before the expiration of the waivers. In April, the U.S. declared the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and this past week, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on Iran’s industrial metals industry.
While the Europeans are technically still signatories to the JCPOA, European nations are fleeing Iran like rats from a sinking ship, opting to forgo business in the Islamic Republic rather than face the wrath of U.S. sanctions. Contrary to Democrats’ assertions, the economic pressures imposed by the Trump administration are not meant to effectuate regime change. Rather, they are designed to modify malign Iranian behavior and bring them back to the negotiating table for the purpose of modifying and altering certain deleterious provisions of the JCPOA, including absurd sunset clauses that allow Iran to enrich uranium 10 years post the signing of the JCPOA. The administration would also like curb Iranian ballistic missile development, something the Obama administration failed to adequately address.
Trump has made diplomatic overtures to the Iranians making clear to them that the U.S. does not seek confrontation and is willing to deal but Iran has adopted an inflexible, hostile-like posture. Last week, four commercial ships – two Saudi, one Norwegian and one United Arab Emirate flagged ship – were sabotaged near the Emirate port of Fujairah, which is located near the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz prompting a 2% spike in the price of crude oil. Twenty percent of the world’s traded oil transits the Strait of Hormuz. No one is saying who carried out the sabotage but many are suggesting an Iranian fingerprint.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels also attacked Saudi state-run Aramco oil installations with drones causing significant damage and disruption. The Saudis retaliated with airstrikes on Houthi-based targets in Yemen.. Keep reading