US Tells Allies to Stop Buying Iranian Oil, Says Waivers 'Unlikely'

27 June, 2018, 16:51 | Author: Frank Williams
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani addresses a general meeting of the Judiciary in Tehran

The Trump administration will enact a zero tolerance policy with regard to exports of Iranian crude oil, a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday, stressing that the U.S. plans to pressure all buyers to completely cut any imports or face sanctions.

The official having the knowledge of the matter reportedly said nations would be subject to sanctions if oil imports from Iran are not cut to zero.

After US president Donald Trump made a decision to withdraw from world powers' deal with Iran on its nuclear program, some US sanctions are to be reimposed in August and some in November. America has ruled out any exemption to India and Indian companies from its re-imposed Iranian sanctions regime. "We are not granting waivers", an official told reporters.

Benchmark U.S. oil futures rose more than $2 on Tuesday, topping $70 a barrel for the first time since May 25 as the threat that the United States would push buyers to limit Iranian oil imports added to concerns about tightening supplies.

Rouhani said Iran maintained the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the Iranian petroleum minister, said last week that the country was bracing for the loss of buyers because of new U.S. sanctions, saying oil majors Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell were among energy companies that have already stopped their purchases.

More clarity is likely in New Delhi on the extent of cuts and waivers and all other related issues after discussions with the USA team that the state department official said could be visiting soon.

"They should be reducing now".

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Now, Washington is stepping up pressure on other countries to follow suit, including European allies who begged him to stay in the accord and major Iranian customers like India, Japan and China. "But we should know that a failure of the deal will have very risky consequences for us", Zarif told a meeting of entrepreneurs at the Iranian Chamber of Commerce in Tehran on June 24.

Police patrolled Tehran's Grand Bazaar on Monday as security forces struggled to restore normality after clashes with protestors angered by the Iranian rial's collapse, which is disrupting business by driving up the cost of imports, witnesses said.

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a wholesale change in Iran's military and regional policies, threatening the "strongest sanctions in history" if it refused.

According to the Reuters news agency, Rouhani also said, "Even in the worst case, I promise that the basic needs of Iranians will be provided".

"Today, despite the financial difficulties at home, the Iranian regime is pouring billions of dollars into Syria, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Yemen, and Shiite militias in Iraq", the posts said, adding that Tehran has to date invested $14 billion in Syria alone.

In a recent report, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said as global sanctions on Iran increased in 2010-2013, India sought to preserve its longstanding ties with Iran while cooperating with the sanctions regime.

Yet the Iran deal itself is still intact, without the US.

The new hard-line US policy may deal a significant blow to the growing government and business ties between Tokyo and Tehran, something that Japan has been working hard to build since the lifting of economic sanctions in 2016 against Iran.

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