WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is asking U.S. allies around the world to lower their level of oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4th of this year, a senior U.S. Official said on Tuesday.
The official added that the administration isn't planning to produce any waivers that will exclude certain countries or companies from this requirement.
"We are pushing allies to cut oil imports to zero by November," the senior official said. "We view this as one of our top national security priorities."
Talks on this demand have been ongoing for recent weeks, but the senior official said the U.S. has yet to receive commitments from major economic players such as China and India, who purchase large amounts of oil from Iran.
"We remain engaged, and we are going to continue to reach out to new countries and partners as the weeks go forward," the senior official explained. If the administration receives the cooperation of Asian and European allies on this issue, the result would be harsh for Iran's economy, which is already in a state of crisis.
The senior official said the U.S. was closely following demonstrations focused on Iran's troubled economy. "I am struck by the amount of business that is dropping out of Iran," he stated, describing the Islamic Republic as "too risky a place to do business" as a result of Trump's decision last month to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
"Every month it seems there are new protests blowing up over social and economic issues," the senior official added. "All these events represent one basic issue - Iranians are fed up with the regime squandering the nation's wealth on ventures abroad. There is a level of frustration that people have with regards to the regime's activity and behavior."
The official also stated that the administration was working with allies in the Middle East to ensure that the demand for zero oil imports from Iran doesn't lead to a large increase in oil prices around the world.
Protesters angered by Iran's cratering economy confronted police officers in front of parliament on Monday, with security forces firing tear gas at them, according to online videos, the first such confrontation after similar demonstrations rocked the country at the start of the year.
Following the demonstrations, Iranian President Hassan Rohani promised that the government would be able to handle the economic pressure of new U.S. sanctions. Defending his economic record, Rohani said the government's income had not been affected in recent months, and the fall in the rial was the result of "foreign media propaganda."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now