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July 03, 2019

Trump team weighs giving China a get-out-of-jail free card on Iran

Featuring Elizabeth Rosenberg


Journalist Eliana Johnson

The State Department is seriously considering using an Obama-era loophole to allow China to import oil from Iran, violating the Trump administration’s pledge to bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

Only last week, the senior State Department official handling Iran said the U.S. would “sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil.”

But according to three U.S. officials, the department’s Iran czar, Brian Hook, and his team of negotiators have discussed granting China a waiver to a 2012 law intended to kneecap the Iranian oil industry. The alternative is allowing China, which recently welcomed a shipment of approximately a million barrels of Iranian oil, openly to defy U.S. sanctions.

The Trump team has kept the details of its deliberations closely held as news reports of the Chinese oil imports have proliferated in recent days — and hawks on Capitol Hill have begun to ask questions. It is the latest in a series of dust-ups between the administration and Congress on an Iran policy that has often appeared inconsistent, careening between threats of military action and offers to talk with Iranian leaders.

Read the full article and more in POLITICO.


  • Elizabeth Rosenberg

    Former Senior Fellow and Director, Energy, Economics and Security Program

    Elizabeth Rosenberg is a former Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. In this capacity, she publ...