US slaps ‘toughest ever’ sanctions on Iran

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Nov 2018 09:03:06


By Lalit K Jha,


India, China among 8 countries allowed to buy Iranian oil


THE United States (US) on Monday imposed “the toughest ever” sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime’s “behaviour”, but allowed India and seven other countries temporarily to continue buying Iranian oil.
“We have decided to issue temporary allotments to a handful of countries responsible to specific circumstances and to ensure a well-supplied oil market. The US will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey,” Pompeo told reporters here. The sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.

He said the US will continue to negotiate with India and the seven other countries receiving the six-month exemption to get them to cut their Iranian imports to zero. The sanctions follow US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision in May to abandon the 2015 multi-nation nuclear deal with Tehran.

President Trump says that he wants to get Iran back to the negotiating table on the nuclear issue. The Trump administration also says it wants to stop what it calls Tehran’s “malign” activities including cyber attacks, ballistic missile tests, and support for terror groups in the Middle East. He vowed that the US will be “relentless” in pressuring Iran and said each of those countries has already demonstrated “significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months.” Two of those eight have already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place, he said. “We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero,” he said.

Over 20 importing nations have zeroed out their imports of crude oil already, taking more than 1 million barrels of crude per day off the market. The Iranian regime to date since May has lost over USD 2.5 billion in oil revenue, he said. Additionally, 100 per cent of the revenue Iran receives from the sale of oil will be held in foreign accounts. Iran can only use this money for humanitarian trade or bilateral non-sanctioned goods, he asserted.

India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, is willing to restrict its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes in a year (3,00,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonnes (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources in New Delhi had said last week.

The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran, Pompeo asserted are “the toughest ever” on Tehran. “They’re aimed at a singular purpose, denying the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorists the capacity to do things like they did this past couple weeks, attempted assassination campaign in the heart of Europe,” he said.

The State Department did not respond to a PTI question as to what will happen if India does not bring down its oil purchase from Iran to zero, as being demanded by it, in next six months. It also did not respond to a question on the fate of the strategically crucial Iranian port of Chabahar, which India sees as critical for reaching landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.


Iran vows to bypass sanctions proudly



IRAN’S President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic republic “will bypass sanctions proudly” by the United States that took effect on Monday targeting the country’s oil and financial sectors. “I announce that we will bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions proudly because it’s against international regulations,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

“We are in a situation of economic war, confronting a bullying power. I don’t think that in the history of America, someone has entered the White House who is so against law and international conventions,” he added. The latest tranche aim to significantly cut Iran’s oil exports -- which have already fallen by around one million barrels a day since May -- and cut it off from international finance.
“Constantly they are sending us messages saying ‘Let’s sit and negotiate.’ Negotiations for what?” said Rouhani.

“First, you respect the negotiations we already concluded, so that there are grounds for the next negotiations.” Rouhani said four countries had approached him during his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly in September, offering to mediate with the US but he turned them down.Iran’s economy was already suffering from major structural problems.