A “Crude” Battle Between the US and Iran

A “Crude” Battle Between the US and Iran

The Trump administration is again tightening the screws on Iran, announcing yesterday that the US will sanction countries that continue to import oil from the Islamic Republic. Exemptions granted to eight countries last May – including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey – are now set to expire next month.

This decision is part of President Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against the regime in Tehran. It comes almost a year after he decided to ditch the Obama-era nuclear accord and reimpose financial curbs in place before the deal.


The situation for Iran could quickly go from bad to worse. Its economy was already expected to shrink by 6 percent this year, with prices rising by 37 percent. Iranian oil exports have more than halved since the US decided to withdraw from the nuclear agreement, but that fall has been cushioned somewhat by higher global oil prices.

Another steep drop in exports could send its economy into a true tailspin. The countries granted exemptions must now find new suppliers or risk facing US sanctions themselves.

US allies, like Japan, South Korea, and India, which buy almost half of Iran's oil exports will certainly cut back in the coming months. The big question is whether China, the destination for about one-third of Iran's barrels, will follow suit. As Beijing nears a grand bargain with the US on trade, it may not want to risk throwing a wrench into negotiations when it could simply pursue new energy sources instead.

The global backdrop: President Trump, fearing a spike in oil prices just like the one we saw following yesterday's announcement, avoided this step for many months. For now, Trump is banking on the cooperation of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States to pump more oil and keep prices down, and we're likely to see diplomatic fireworks if they don't comply.

Upshot: The US decision to exit the nuclear deal was a symbolic act with limited immediate consequences. Now comes the real pain. These new restrictions will test the resilience of Iran's government and its people.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

More Show less

On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

More Show less

In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream