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US to Give Eight Nations Oil Waivers Under Iran Sanctions

US to Give Eight Nations Oil Waivers Under Iran Sanctions US to Give Eight Nations Oil Waivers Under Iran Sanctions

The US has agreed to let eight countries -- including Japan, India and South Korea -- keep buying Iranian oil after it reimposes sanctions on the OPEC producer on Nov. 5, a senior administration official said.
While the Trump administration’s goal remains to choke off revenue to Iran’s economy, waivers are being granted in exchange for continued import cuts so as not to drive up oil prices, said the official, who asked not to be identified before US secretary of state, Michael Pompeo, announces the number of exemptions later on Friday, Bloomberg reported.
The administration must maintain a delicate balancing act with the waivers: ensuring the oil market has sufficient supply and avoiding a politically damaging spike in fuel prices, while also ensuring that Iran’s government does not collect enough revenue that the US sanctions become irrelevant.
Previously, Pompeo has said “it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country or sanctions will be imposed,” but also acknowledged that waivers were being negotiated with nations that say crude from the Middle East producer are critical to their energy industry.
Turkey, a key destination for Iranian crude, may be among countries that are getting an exemption, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told reporters in Ankara on Friday. Iran was Ankara’s biggest source of the fuel last year, accounting for more than a quarter of Turkey’s daily average imports of around 830,000 barrels, according to data from the market regulator.
The waivers are only temporary, and the US will expect countries that get them to keep cutting Iranian imports in the months ahead, according to the US administration official.
Names of countries getting waivers is expected to be released officially on Monday, when US restrictions against oil dealings with Iran go back into effect. The Trump administration has asked that those nations also cut other economic ties with the Persian Gulf state, such as by reducing trade in goods that are not covered by the sanctions, the official said.
The impending oil sanctions have been a US tool to pressure Tehran in the six months since President Donald Trump backed out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, saying it did not do enough to constrain the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program or curb what the US claims is “malign activity” in the region.

 

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