US allows India, 7 nations to continue buying Iranian oil
02 November, 2018, 16:58 | Author: Angel Logan
While US President Donald Trump and senior figures in Congress have pushed for harsher anti-Iranian sanctions, the State and Treasury Departments reportedly caved to pressure from European allies and Iran.
Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran after President Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal earlier this year.
The US government has agreed to let eight countries, including close allies South Korea and Japan, as well as India, keep buying Iranian oil aid the upcoming sanctions, Bloombergreported, citing a US official.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in September that the White House would only consider waivers for Iran's oil buyers if they vowed to eventually bring their imports to zero.
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.
India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, has imported about 22 million tons of crude oil from Iran in 2017-2018 and plans to raise that to about 30 million tons in 2018-2019.
Senior US State Department officials working on the Iran issue are said to have convinced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to permit Iran to remain connected to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) global banking system, Washington Free Beacon reported, citing the sources familiar with the matter. As such, this has eased concerns over a potential supply shock from the imposition of oil sanctions on Iran and thus keeping oil prices on a downward spiral. They still have to decide on how to split the quantum and on the form of payments, the source said.
"We ask that it to modify its behaviour, and the Secretary (of State) has been clear frequently on what we expect from the regime and human rights are certainly an important aspect of that", he said.
"The waivers granted to these eight countries show that the market needs Iran's oil and it can not be pulled out of the market".
In the previous round of sanctions India made payments in rupees to Iran's account with UCO bank.
"The US may use waivers to slow-walk implementation, but these will not apply indefinitely", Allen said. India and Iran still have to figure out shipping and insurance details for a smooth trade.
Hours before he spoke, Iranian President Hassan Rohani warned Iranians they could face more economic hardship in the months ahead as the US imposes a new round of sanctions. The Trump administration has rebuffed them and gone ahead with its sanctions plan, arguing that nations, banks and businesses worldwide will decide they'd rather do business with the US than Iran and leave the market. Iran used the funds to buy goods from India.
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