Stories by Robert Johnston

Expert Voices

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil leave slim margin for future shocks

Mike Pompeo speaking at press conference
Secretary Mike Pompeo at a State Department press conference about the sanctions waivers on April 22. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Global oil prices plunged on Friday, erasing a week of gains after the U.S. said on Monday it would no longer issue waivers for Iranian oil imports. The administration's decision is likely to keep jostling oil markets as the waiver deadline approaches.

The big picture: The U.S. allowed 8 countries to buy Iranian crude and condensate over the past 6 months. The State Department has declined to address whether it will allow a “wind down” period for purchases beyond the May 2 deadline, after which importers would be immediately exposed to sanctions.

Expert Voices

Trump’s Iran strategy collides with oil market realities

oil tankers off the coast of Iran
Ships at Iran's Port of Kharg Island Oil Terminal. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Trump administration must decide by May 2 whether to allow Iran to continue exporting crude oil — a decision with huge implications for Washington’s Iran strategy and the oil market.

The big picture: Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal last May, the U.S. has steadily ratcheted up economic and political pressure on Iran. The core component of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy is reducing the Islamic Republic's oil exports, which provide provide a third of government revenues.

Expert Voices

The Green New Deal may finally bring climate change to center stage

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (R) listens during a news conference
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) unveiling their Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol, on Feb. 7, 2019. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Amid the announcement of the Green New Deal (GND) resolution on Thursday, critics have been quick to characterize the policy as quixotic and extreme. But GND supporters are far from alone in advocating for a radical transformation of the global energy system, nor are such efforts confined to the left wing of the Democrat congressional caucus.

The big picture: In comparison to the rest of the world, Washington has been uniquely slow to recognize and address the threat of climate change. The GND, regardless of whether it comes to fruition, seems poised to force a conversation in the Capitol that other governments and the private sector have been holding for a long time.