President Donald Trump may find it difficult to prevent Iran from selling its oil, a proven way to pressure the U.S. adversary, if he decides to renew sanctions on Tehran, analysts warn.
The assessments come after Trump announced plans to toughen the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which saw Tehran limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump said he will scrap the deal and restore the sanctions if he can't reach a solution with Congress and U.S. allies to address his problems with it.
While close U.S. allies in Europe, South Korea and Japan would likely curtail oil purchases from Iran if Trump restores U.S. sanctions, Asian buyers like China and India may resist, analysts say. If sanctions do not prevent foreign firms from doing business with Iran, they are less likely to exert enough pressure to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
A comprehensive sanctions regime engineered by the U.S. Treasury Department had a devastating impact on Iran's economy and helped shrink its oil output by 1 million barrels a day through 2015. The effort began under President George W. Bush and intensified under President Barack Obama.