U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States is seeking to "bring Iranian crude oil exports down to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit."
In a speech to oil industry executives in Houston, Texas, on March 12, Pompeo urged the industry to work with the administration of President Donald Trump to promote U.S. foreign policy interests and restrict "bad actors" in global affairs.
The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Pompeo also said Washington will use all economic levers to force a solution to the crisis in Venezuela, where the United States and other countries have called on President Nicolas Maduro to resign.
And he warned Europe not to get "hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project." He said Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and its military involvement in eastern Ukraine were an effort to control Ukraine's oil and gas reserves.
"We need to roll up our sleeves and compete – by facilitating investment, encouraging partners to buy from us, and by punishing bad actors," Pompeo told the oil executives.