US/Iran Relationship Deteriorates

The Story: 

On April 21, the United States demanded that countries importing oil from Iran stop doing so by May 1, saying that they will otherwise risk sanctions.

Background: 

Last spring, President Donald Trump kept a campaign promise by pulling the United States out of the 2015 agreement between Iran and six major powers. The agreement was designed to allow free sale of Iranian oil around the world on the one hand, while ending Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons on the other.  Trump has maintained that this was a lopsided deal in Iran’s favor.

In November, the US officially reimposed upon Iran the whole range of official sanctions, in the hope of producing regime change in that country.

Now, the US is threatening to widen the sanctions in order to heighten this pressure. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that other top exporters, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular, can make up any shortfall caused by isolating Iran.

The Thing to Know:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said recently that the Guard may escalate matters. It may retaliate against US sanctions by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the critical and narrow passage through which all oil tankers carrying crude from ports in the Persian Gulf must pass.

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