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Mainland China Could Face U.S. Sanctions After 1 May Over Iran Oil Imports

The United States could impose economic sanctions against five economies – including mainland China – as early as 2 May if they do not halt their imports of crude oil from Iran, according to a recent announcement from the U.S. State Department.

In August 2018 the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement designed to curtail Iran’s nuclear programme. The administration then reinstated in November a number of Iran-related sanctions, including a prohibition on foreign country purchases of crude oil from Iran. A six-month waiver from that ban was granted to allow the eight largest buyers of such oil to continue importing limited amounts, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on 22 April that those waivers (known as significant reduction exceptions) will not be renewed when they expire on 1 May.

As a result, the United States could begin imposing economic sanctions as early as 2 May against countries that received waivers unless they halt their imports of crude oil from Iran. Press sources note while that Greece and Italy have already done so, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, India and Turkey have not. Several of those countries reportedly expressed concern about the U.S. move and may not comply.

According to the State Department, sanctions could include losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or U.S. companies.

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