Iran seeks European assurances as USA oil sanctions loom

Donald Trump and Iran President Hassan Rouhani. —AFP

Donald Trump and Iran President Hassan Rouhani. —AFP

Those factors, along with a spate of recent weak economic reports out of China and other emerging markets, have shifted the conversation back toward worries about oversupply, and pushed US futures to lows not seen since April, interrupting an upward move that had consistently found support during the rally's modest pullbacks. But senior administration officials refused to spell out the names on Friday.

Mnuchin says the US has informed SWIFT that it would be subject to USA sanctions if it provides financial transfer services to "certain designated Iranian financial institutions".

"Unlike in prior administrations, we will ensure that the money is not spent on illicit activities, that there isn't any leakage in these escrow accounts, and we will work closely with countries to encourage the sale and purchase of humanitarian goods to benefit the Iranian people". "These negotiations are still ongoing".

On the other side of the coin, Seener said that the collapse of European Union real opposition to United States sanctions is closer to complete than it was months ago. Now, Europe is trying to preserve the deal to avoid a potential war they fear could result if Iran abandons the deal over United States actions, he said.

Iranians burn an image of US President Donald Trump during an anti-US demonstration outside the former US embassy headquarters in the capital Tehran on 9 May 2018 after Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.

But will these companies risk being hit by secondary sanctions which would limit their own ability to trade with the US?

"In order to maximise the effect of the president's pressure campaign, we have worked closely with other countries to cut off Iranian oil exports as much as possible", Pompeo said.

However, the U.S. is expected to give a short-term waiver to eight countries which could include India because of its commitment to significantly reduces import of oil from Iran.

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India along with seven other nations have been exempted from sanctions getting imposed against them for importing oil from Iran.

The United States is able to pressure other nations to stop buying Iranian oil under a 2012 law that allows the president to cut off foreign banks, including central banks, from the USA financial system unless they significantly reduce purchases.

Washington says it wants a new deal with Iran, curtailing its regional interventions and missile programme - demands which have been flatly rejected by Tehran. Let me say that again: Zero.

The policy is in stark contrast to oil sanctions under the Obama administration, which granted waivers to 20 countries and expected those countries to reduce Iranian oil imports by a fifth every 180 days.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended the White House's move last week to reimpose sanctions against Iran amid criticism from some conservatives that the action does not go far enough to cripple the country's economy.

"Iran's oil exports are falling rapidly, and perhaps more and more in the weeks to come", Fatih Birol, executive director at the International Energy Agency, said in a Bloomberg television interview.

This is the second major batch of sanctions imposed by the administration of President Donald Trump since he pulled the USA from a landmark nuclear deal in May.

Anger and distrust over the USA is surging again following Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from landmark nuclear deal with world powers despite Tehran's compliance with the agreement, which was negotiated under the Obama administration.

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