As feared, the United States announced it will not extend temporary waivers given to countries that purchase Iranian oil. Now, no country can buy petroleum products from Iran without risking the imposition of sanctions against it. Eight countries were given waivers, Japan among them. Anticipating the revocation, Japanese refiners halted purchases from Iran earlier this year; finding other suppliers has not been difficult and Japanese energy prices remain stable.

The wisdom of the U.S. strategy is questionable. Washington has withdrawn from a multilateral agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that Tehran was honoring. The U.S. administration’s ultimate objective is unclear and may not even be legal. Its means are generating more friction with allies than changes in Tehran’s behavior.

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