April 26, 2019

Maximum Pressure on Iran Won’t Work

By Elizabeth Rosenberg

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo moved to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil—a major step to increase financial pressure on Tehran. The new policy, once it goes into force on May 2, aims to force China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey to stop buying crude from Iran, depriving the country of its primary source of cash.

In the near term, the pressure tactic will mostly work, successfully siphoning off a significant share of Iran’s oil exports. The big buyers in the handful of countries still doing oil business with Iran will plead for leniency, or kick and scream, and then grudgingly wind down. They are unlikely to get to zero, for lack of affordable and available alternatives, possible permission from the United States to slow-walk their retreat, and good old-fashioned recalcitrance. But they will likely steer away from committing reputational and financial suicide by flagrantly breaching U.S. sanctions.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

  • Commentary
    • March 27, 2020
    Sharper: Global Coronavirus Response

    As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...

    By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • March 25, 2020
    Fallout from the New Oil War

    On the back of Covid-19–related economic declines and a corresponding fall in demand for energy, oil markets have collapsed in recent days. This has contributed to a massive m...

    By Elizabeth Rosenberg & ​Neil Bhatiya

  • Commentary
    • March 24, 2020
    The Economic Impacts of Covid-19

    On March 19, the CNAS Energy, Economics, and Security (EES) program held a Twitter conversation on the impact of Covid-19 on economic and financial markets. EES Program Direct...

    By Sam Dorshimer & Ashley Feng

  • Commentary
    • The Hill
    • March 12, 2020
    How China set forth the global coronavirus crisis into motion

    As the shroud of crisis began to lift at the center of the coronavirus epidemic in China, Beijing launched a campaign to project an image of global leadership while the United...

    By Kristine Lee & Ashley Feng

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia