EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Senior officials in the Trump administration have indicated that the sanctions recently imposed on the Islamic Republic were intended to significantly change its behavior. This declaration is inconsistent with its granting of an exemption to the eight countries – particularly China and India – that make up the bulk of Iranian oil exports. The administration’s decision reflects, among other things, the desire to avoid a shake-up in global oil prices and a pragmatic approach that allows room for maneuver for countries that are not ready to immediately halt their purchases of Iranian oil. However, the decision is being interpreted by Tehran as a sign of weakness and an achievement for Iranian foreign policy.
On November 5, the Trump government imposed wide-ranging sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to bring about a change in the revolutionary regime’s radical orientation. This round of sanctions places severe restrictions on a wide range of corporations, financial and commercial entities, organizations, and private individuals both in Iran and abroad.
The focus of the sanctions is the Iranian energy market, with an emphasis on oil exports, which is the country’s main source of income. The assumption is that constraining Iran’s oil revenues will significantly harm its economic stability and thus force it to change course and return to the negotiating table, this time under new conditions.