Quote: Originally Posted by CliffySanctions against Iran a balancing act for U.S. | Investing | Financial Post (external - login to view)
And why is that? Do you think it might have had something to do with US meddling in their internal affairs? Could it be that all this sanction BS has to do with the Iranians kicking out the US pretty boy Shaw?
MORE SCALPEL THAN AXE
The new U.S. measures target both private and government-controlled banks, including central banks, and would take hold after a two- to six-month warning period depending on the transactions.
U.S. officials acknowledge that allies such as Japan have concerns, and have built in several provisions designed to make the new law more of a scalpel than an axe.
The law allows Mr. Obama to exempt institutions in a country that has significantly reduced its dealings with Iran. He may also grant waivers deemed to be in the U.S. national security interest or otherwise necessary for energy market stability.
Mr. Obama would need to notify Congress and waivers would be temporary but they could be extended.
White House officials declined to say which countries have sought waivers or how they expect the sanctions to impact U.S. relations with Iran’s oil customers.
China, the No. 1 customer for Iran’s oil, and Russia have both resisted additional sanctions on Tehran and are unlikely to be swayed by the new U.S. law, analysts said.
But for countries such as Turkey, which gets about 30% of its oil from Iran, or India, which gets 11 percent, the prospect of a U.S. waiver could reduce anxieties over the sanctions and consolidate support for Washington’s aggressive stance on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“There is increased frustration from many of these nations when they see that previous rounds of sanctions haven’t done what they were intended to do,” said Trita Parsi, an Iran expert and head of the National Iranian American Council.
“Part of the administration argument going into an election against a Republican candidate is that Obama has been able to create a much stronger international coalition against Iran. You can’t make that argument if you end up in a conflict with some of those allies.”
Waivers also could be selectively granted for humanitarian reasons or for institutions that have forward contracts with Iranian companies – blunting the immediate impact of the new law, while retaining the threat of full implementation.
TENSIONS AND TALKS
The new U.S. sanctions came at a moment of increasing tension with Tehran, which in recent days Iran has tested long-range missiles and staged 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf. Iran also warned it could shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40% of world oil is shipped, if sanctions were imposed on its crude exports.
Tehran already is subject to four rounds of U.N. sanctions because of its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities and faces more pain if the European Union follows the United States and bans imports of Iranian crude oil.
Tehran signalled during the weekend that it was ready to resume talks on its nuclear program with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany that stalled in January.