The new bill comes after Donald Trump branded the the elite Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organisation earlier this month. Washington has continued to put pressure on Tehran after withdrawing from their nuclear deal last year, announcing that no country would any longer be exempt from US sanctions if it continues to buy Iranian oil. The new bill demands Iran take action against other countries that formally back the US designation, as it stands, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel have all supported the American declaration.
Iran has also labelled US Central Command, also known as CENTCOM, as a danger and requested its intelligence agency provide a list of all CENTCOM commanders within three months so that Iran’s judiciary can prosecute them as terrorists.
The bill was passed by 173 out of 215 lawmakers and will become law when it gets final approval by Iran’s constitutional watchdog.
Donald Trump’s administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran, including on its energy sector after pulling America out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last November.
The US also ruled it would be a crime to provide Iran’s Revolutionary Guard with material support.
On Monday, President Donald Trump began a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran that aims to eliminate all of its revenue from oil exports.
Before the reimposition of sanctions last year, Iran was the fourth largest producer among the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries at around three million barrels per day (bpd), but April exports have shrunk to below 1 million bpd, according to tanker data and industry sources.
China, Iran’s largest customer with imports of about 585,400 bpd of crude oil last year, formally complained to Washington over the move, which a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said “will contribute to volatility in the Middle East and in the international energy market”.
Barclays bank said in a note that the US decision took many market participants by surprise and would “lead to a significant tightening of oil markets”.
The move to increase pressure on Iran came amid other sanctions Washington has placed on Venezuela’s oil exports and as combat threatens to disrupt Libya’s exports.
Iran has also threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it’s prevented from using the crucial waterway in the Persian Gulf through which about a third of all oil traded at sea passes.