Trump administration ends waivers for buying oil from Iran

The Trump administration will not renew waivers that allowed eight foreign governments to buy Iranian oil without getting sanctioned, it announced Monday.

“President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also make the announcement from the State Department’s press briefing room.

In doing so, Pompeo, an Iran hardliner, bowed to pressure from others inside and outside the administration who wanted to squeeze Iran even harder despite concerns about causing a spike in oil prices.

Sanctions on Iranian oil purchases were re-imposed in November as part of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The 2015 accord between the United States, Iran, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China gave Tehran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Amid concerns over roiling the international oil market, the Trump administration in November granted sanctions waivers to eight governments: China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan.

The waivers are due for renewal May 2.

Three of the places -- Italy, Greece and Taiwan -- have already stopped importing Iranian oil and so did not need their waivers renewed.

The U.S. is cooperating with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on "ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied," according to the statement from the White House press secretary.

"We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market."