Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as U.S. re-imposes measures

Khamenei Trump Iran’s Khamenei ‘World Opposes Every Decision Made By Trump’ Getty 4 Nov 2018
Gerardo Duncan | 05 November, 2018, 23:37

The United States has made a decision to issue temporary allotments to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey to continue importing Iranian oil, due to the specific countries' circumstances and to ensure a well-supplied oil market, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, the day on which U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil return.

The move is part of a wider effort by US President Donald Trump to curb Tehran's missile and nuclear program and diminish the Islamic Republic's influence in the Middle East.

The Trump administration though has granted exemptions to eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, without naming them. China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have been the top importers of Iran's oil, while Taiwan occasionally buys cargoes of Iranian crude but is not a major buyer.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the penalties returning on Monday were "the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran".

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday", Pompeo refused to reveal which countries received waivers from USA sanctions to continue importing Iranian oil.

"They need a little bit more time to get to zero", Pompeo explained.

After unilaterally pulling out of the deal meant to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities earlier this year, the White House said it would reapply sanctions on the country's energy, financial and shipping sectors.

Iranian leaders and particularly IRGC officials often make threatening remarks about the USA and its allies in the region.

WTI (oil futures on NYMEX) extended its losing streak into a sixth day today and hit fresh seven-month lows near $ 62.50, now consolidating near the last amid moderate risk-aversion. United Nations inspectors say Iran is abiding by an agreement reached with Trump's predecessor Barack Obama to draw down its nuclear program. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

They have promised to support European firms that do "legitimate business" with Iran and have set up an alternative payment mechanism - or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) - that will help companies trade without facing USA penalties. "We stand with them as they call for the regime to respect their human rights and dignity", said US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook.

The resumption of sanctions prompted an air defence drill and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation was facing a "war situation".

However, analysts doubt this will lessen the impact of sanctions on Iran, given the importance of the United States to global trade.

Iran's oil exports have already dropped by almost one million barrels per day since President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed the first round sanctions, putting the squeeze on a sector that accounts for around 60 percent of the country's overall budget. "The US - and not Iran - is isolated", Zarif said in a tweet.

Pompeo also said limited waivers had been issued to allow European and other firms to continue conversion work on two of Iran's nuclear facilities. According to the US Treasury, the sanctions brings the total number of Iran-related targets to 900, the highest ever. "The sanctions are truly coming", Netanyahu said. Iranian imports of graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, gold and some software are also affected.

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