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Julian Lee

Squeezing Gas Prices or Iran? Trump Must Choose

Sanctions waivers that let countries purchase Iranian oil expire soon. What the president does next will have a big impact on the world’s oil market.

Which plays better: cheap gas or bullying Iran?

Which plays better: cheap gas or bullying Iran?

Photographer: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg

The deadline for the U.S. administration to decide whether to extend sanctions waivers granted to buyers of Iranian oil is now less than a month away, and President Donald Trump faces a tricky decision. He undoubtedly wants to increase pressure on the Persian Gulf nation, but in doing so he risks stoking oil prices and with them those all-important gas prices in swing states back home.

Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, believes oil market conditions are better this year than they were in 2018 for accelerating the goal of “zeroing out all purchases of Iranian crude,” or so he told reporters last week. But the numbers tell a different story.