Engaged With The US On Iran Oil Issue, Says Foreign Ministry

Will Iran’s oil exports fall to zero

Reuters Umit Bektas

Asked about reports that the United States was going to grant India waiver from the Iran sanctions, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said the government has not heard anything from Washington.

According to details leaked from waivers talks, India has agreed to reduce Iranian oil imports by about 40 percent below planned levels to about 1.25 million metric tons per month, or about 290,000 barrels per day.

Bloomberg reported that close United States allies South Korea and Japan had received waivers along with India, which relies heavily on supplies from Iran.

"Why not?" HPCL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh K Surana said at a press conference, when asked if his firm would look at resuming oil imports from Iran if India gets a waiver.

"We still expect that the global oil market will be in deficit in 4Q18", the bank said.

The sanctions cover Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors. Iran could mix its oil with crude from neighboring Iraq, sell on the black market or try a barter system supported by the European Union.

Among other countries closely connected to Iran's energy system is Iraq, which imports gas via a pipeline.

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Iran has no fear about new USA sanctions due to take effect in coming days, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Barack Obama, the U.S. president at the time, had argued the deal would prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms.

"They're gutting President Trump's maximum pressure campaign", one senior congressional staffer briefed by administration officials on Iran and SWIFT said.

"In May, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark nuclear the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as disastrous".

The administration's decision to issue waivers to eight countries also marked a significant reduction from the Obama administration, which issued such exemptions to 20 countries over three years. To gain the waiver, it likely agreed to a larger cut of imports from previous levels. The US sanctions have driven away Indian and worldwide shippers and insurers from extending their services for Iranian oil imports. "This leading state sponsor of terrorism is going to see revenues cut off significantly that will deprive it of its ability to fund terrorism throughout the region". He said those countries had made efforts to eliminate their imports but could not complete the task by Monday's deadline.

"It's a virtual certainty that Western banks are not going to violate the escrow restrictions", said Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has advised Pompeo.

Despite the surge in output, concerns lingered as Washington is set to impose its sanctions against Iran's petroleum exports from next week.

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