The United States has granted exemptions to eight countries allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, as Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran's banking, energy and shipping industries. "But on oil, we want to go a little bit slow because I don't want to drive the oil prices in the world up", Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington on Monday before leaving on a campaign trail for the mid-term polls being held today.
In a speech on state TV, Iranian President Hassan Rohani earlier said the country was facing a "war situation" and vowed that Iran will "proudly bypass" U.S. sanctions to sell oil. India's top oil supplier is Iraq, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia.
India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80% of its oil needs through imports. He said the sanctions were aimed at forcing "us to submit to (America's) will, no matter how absurd, unlawful or fundamentally flawed its demands are".
These are also Iran's biggest buyers, meaning Iran will be allowed to still export some oil for now.
'The sanctions will accelerate the rapid decline of Iran's worldwide economic activity, saying over 20 countries had already cut their oil intake from Iran, reducing its exports by more than 1 million barrels a day, rfe/rl reported quoting Pompeo. "The regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billion in oil revenue".
Hedge fund managers were net sellers of petroleum-linked futures and options for a fifth week running last week as concerns about sanctions on Iran evaporated and investors refocused on economic worries. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership criticised Trump for giving exemptions to some of the major Iranian oil importers.
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South Korea says it can also continue exporting non-sanctioned products to Iran after the United States agreed to recognize a transaction system where local companies receive payments through two Korean won-denominated accounts that Iran's central bank opened in South Korea. "We believe that China's normal cooperation (with Iran) within global law is legal and legitimate, and this shall be respected".
"In May, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as disastrous". "Further, its negotiators failed to secure any restrictions on Iran's other destabilising activities, including the regime's ballistic missile development and proliferation", he told a NY audience.
Trump is targeting Iran's main source of revenue - its oil exports - as well as its financial sector, essentially making 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries off-limits to foreign banks, on pain of losing access to the USA financial system.
"This is only the beginning of the Iranian production curtailment story, not the end", said Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets. Imposing maximal economic pressure on Iran is vital for getting Tehran back to the table, he said.
The U.S. restored sanctions on Iran's oil industry this week that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in May. Watch the efforts that President Trump's policies have achieved.