04 November 2018, News Wires — The United States says it will temporarily allow eight importers to keep buying Iranian oil when it re-imposes sanctions on Monday to try to force Iran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced the decision, did not name the eight, which he referred to as “jurisdictions,” a term that might include importers such as Taiwan which the United States does not regard as a country.
Having abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran’s oil-dependent economy and force Tehran to quash not only its nuclear ambitions and its ballistic missile programme but its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
On Twitter, in a message designed to emphasize his “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran, Trump included a photograph of himself modelled on a entertainment industry poster with the headline: “Sanctions are coming November 5.”
China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have been top importers of Iran’s oil, while Taiwan occasionally buys cargoes of Iranian crude but is not a major buyer.
Turkey has been told it will temporarily be allowed to keep buying Iranian oil, its energy minister told reporters, as has Iraq, as long as it does not pay Iran in U.S. dollars, three Iraqi officials said.
India and South Korea were also on the list, said a source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Under U.S. law, exceptions can be granted for up to 180 days.
India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said India and other leading oil buyers would benefit from the U.S. waiver they have been granted.
“In the current geopolitically challenging scenario, India has managed to convince international leaders,” Pradhan told reporters in New Delhi.
Oil prices fell on Friday for a weekly loss of over 6 percent, as investors worried about crude oversupply after the U.S. waivers.
Brent crude futures fell 6 cents to settle at $72.83 a barrel, while U.S. crude declined 55 cents to end the session at $63.14 per barrel, a 0.86 percent loss.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said Washington had told the Brussels-based SWIFT financial messaging service it was expected to disconnect all Iranian financial institutions that the United States plans to blacklist as of Monday. He declined to name the targeted institutions.
Trump set in motion the resumption of sanctions on May 8, when he announced U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers under which Tehran had agreed to curtail its nuclear programme in return for relief from sanctions.
“This part of the campaign is aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues it uses to spread death and destruction around the world,” Pompeo said.