Seoul granted waiver to buy Iranian oil

Jeannie Matthews
November 6, 2018

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, weighed down by sanction exemptions from Washington that will allow Iran's biggest oil customers to keep importing from Tehran, as well as by concerns that an economic slowdown may curb fuel demand growth. These are Iran's biggest buyers, meaning Iran will be allowed to still export some oil for now. Gholamali Khoshroo called on Antonio Gooteresh to uphold the rule of law.

"The Americans constantly said they would reduce the sale of Iran's oil to zero but I have to say that so far, we have been able to sell our required amounts of oil", the Tasnim news agency quoted Jahangiri as saying.

The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has vowed that his country will defy sanctions reimposed on Monday by the US after the Trump administration scrapped the nuclear deal struck by President Obama earlier this year.

The US says the sanctions, which US Secretary of Pompeo billed as the "toughest sanctions ever", are aimed at persuading Iran to "alter" its behavior, including its support for regional terrorist groups like the Hezbollah and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.

Washington has agreed to let eight countries keep buying Iranian oil.

"We are in the war situation, " Rouhani said.

Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said by reinstating sanctions without justification, Trump is pitting the United States against European allies and increasing its reliance on Saudi Arabia at a time when that country is "implicated in a plot to assassinate" on foreign soil a journalist and its outspoken critic.

The Trump administration on Monday released a list of sanctions against hundreds of entities throughout Iran's economy, promising to exert more pressure on the nation's regime. "We have the toughest sanctions ever imposed but on oil, we want to go a little bit slower because I don't want to drive the oil prices in the world", he told reporters.

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They cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, national flag carrier Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, according to a US Treasury statement.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Kremlin's foreign ministry "strongly condemned" the new wave of US sanctions, arguing that the move deals "another powerful blow to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)".

The 180-day period came to a close this week, restoring a heavier slate of sanctions on Iran than a first round that went into effect after the 90-day grace period.

Trump on Monday said he wants to impose sanctions on Iran's oil gradually, citing concerns about shocking energy markets and causing global price spikes.

Pompeo said more than 20 countries have already cut oil imports from Iran, reducing purchases by more than 1 million barrels per day.

However, the Democratic Party leadership criticised Trump for giving exemptions to some of the major Iranian oil importers.

Seeking to deflect criticism from some Iran hawks concerned that the sanctions don't go far enough, Pompeo stressed that U.S. pressure on countries to stop buying Iranian oil had already reduced its exports by more than a million barrels of crude per day costing the country $2.5 billion revenue.

"Banks, with all their power, and by using their experience in the previous round of sanctions, should take steps to preserve and support the foreign trade process and financial transfers", he said.

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