Now that there are no sanction waivers for Iranian oil buyers, the United States will sanction any imports of crude oil from Iran, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said on Friday, reiterating comments he made last month amid reports that China has already imported its first crude oil cargo from Iran that breaches the U.S. sanctions.
“We will sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil,” Hook said in London, as carried by Reuters.
Last month, Hook said that the United States would sanction any country that tries to buy Iranian oil after the sanction waivers expired on May 2, regardless of whether said country had reached its negotiated cap under the exemptions, clarifying earlier comments that resulted in speculation that the U.S. would allow countries that hadn’t reached their cap of Iranian imports to continue buying oil from Iran until they reach that cap.
Speaking today, Hook echoed his remarks from the end of May, saying, as carried by Reuters:
“We will sanction any illicit purchases of Iranian crude oil.”
Hook also said that the U.S. would be looking to check reports that Iranian crude oil tankers have departed and arrived in China after the U.S. removed all sanction waivers for all Iranian crude oil customers, including the biggest buyer, China.
Earlier this week, an analysis of TankerTrackers showed that Iran had delivered the first crude oil to a Chinese refinery complex since the United States removed as of May all sanction waivers for Iranian oil customers.
According to TankerTrackers, a medium-sized Suezmax vessel, named SALINA, owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), and loaded with around 1 million barrels of crude oil from Iran, departed on May 28. The tanker arrived on June 20 at Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex in China in a first independent tanker-tracking confirmation that China is defying the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.