US sees room to be more aggressive on sanctions and take Iran oil exports to zero

A high-ranking State Department official said a well-supplied world oil market helps the U.S. maintain, or even tighten, sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela without causing an oil price spike.

However, Brian Hook, the State Department Representative for Iran, would not comment on whether the U.S.will continue to make exceptions for buyers of Iran‘s oil.

That is one of the most critical questions in the global oil market. The U.S. will decide by May 8 whether to continue making exemptions for certain buyers of Iranian crude. In October it exempted eight countries from the sanctions that went into place last November.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reemphasized his policy of driving Iran‘s oil exports to “zero” when he spoke at the annual IHS Markit CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on Tuesday.