Friday, 16 November, 2018

Japan Crude Oil Buyers Expected To Restart Iran Imports -Trade minister

Saudi oil output capacity may be close to maxing out Saudi oil output capacity may be close to maxing out Saudi oil output capacity may be close to maxing out
Cristina Norman | 07 November, 2018, 06:35

Washington has restored measures lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with Tehran by the administration of President Barack Obama.

"The maximum pressure exerted by the United States is only going to mount from here", U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

A source at a Japanese refiner said the firm had begun considering resuming Iran oil purchases, though details have not been set yet.

To keep the deal alive, the remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal are trying to maintain trade with Tehran despite scepticism this is possible despite US sanctions to choke off Iranian oil sales.

US President Donald Trump on Monday (Nov 5) said he wants to impose sanctions on Iran's oil gradually, citing concerns about shocking energy markets and causing global price spikes.

Trump's moves target Iran's main source of revenue, its oil exports, as well as its financial sector.

Those sanctions also include 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 people and vessels in its shipping sector, and Tehran's national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, according to a US Treasury statement.

Mark Dubowitz from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said the administration first wanted to reduce Iranian oil exports as much as possible in the months prior to Monday, then close down Iran's oil revenues by creating restricted accounts, then, in 2019, analyze oil markets to see how Iranian oil exports might be reduced even further. Trump called the deal a failure as it only targeted Iran's nuclear programme and not its support for terrorism, including backing for the Lebanese militant organisation Hezbollah.

Pompeo said Washington granted exceptions to eight importers allowing them to temporarily keep buying Iranian oil.

The deal had seen most worldwide financial and economic sanctions on Iran lifted in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under United Nations surveillance.

Pompeo said Washington had granted temporary exemptions to eight countries allowing them to continue buying Iranian oil, but USA officials have said the aim is eventually to stop all Iran's oil exports.

Oil prices initially soared on fears that the Iran sanctions would knock the world's fifth-biggest producer offline.

"The eight countries which have been exempted have already reduced imports on our request and out of these two have completely stopped importing oil and will not start imports till the sanctions remain in place". The U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany signed that agreement, along with Iran.

"Allowing these activities to continue for the time being will improve ongoing oversight of Iran's civil nuclear program", Pompeo said, "and make these facilities less susceptible to illicit and illegal nuclear uses".

U.S. officials have said the countries given temporary exemptions will deposit revenue in escrow accounts for Tehran to use exclusively for humanitarian purposes. China's foreign ministry expressed regret at the US move.

Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the "irresponsible conduct of the United States necessitates a collective response to uphold the rule of law".

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