Pompeo: Removing sanction waivers on Iranian oil sales likely won't impact China trade talks

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Overnight Defense: House Democrats unveil stopgap spending measure to GOP opposition | Bill includes .6B for new subs | Trump issues Iran sanctions after world shrugs at US action at UN Navalny calls on Russia to return clothes he was wearing when he fell ill MORE said in an interview on Monday that U.S. trade talks with China will likely not be affected by the removal of sanctions waivers that allowed eight foreign governments, including China, to buy Iranian oil without penalties. 

"No, I don't believe so," Pompeo told The Hill’s editor-in-chief, Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Big 10 votes to resume football season MORE, in the interview, which aired Tuesday on Hill.TV's "Rising."

"We've had lots of talks with China about this issue. I am confident that the trade talks will continue and run their natural course," he continued. 

The Trump administration in November granted sanctions waivers to eight governments: China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan.

The waivers were due for renewal on May 2, but the administration announced earlier this month that they would not be renewed. 

"With respect to the absence of the granting of waivers and what others may do, sovereign nations make their own choices. Individual businesses inside of that will make their own choices. But what we can do is prepare a sanctions regime that makes it incredibly costly," Pompeo said.

"And so, companies that choose to violate the sanctions that we have in place connected to the purchase of crude oil from the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will pursue and we will ensure that they are held accountable for the violations that they engage in," he said. "It's pretty straightforward." 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of emergency loans | House seeks to salvage vote on spending bill | Economists tell lawmakers: Kill the virus to heal the economy Economists spanning spectrum say recovery depends on containing virus Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of current emergency lending programs MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are headed to Beijing this week with the hope of finalizing a deal to end the economic dispute between the U.S. and China. 

— Julia Manchester