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Vice president: Iran launches plan to counter new United States sanctions

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Targeting Iranian oil exports will hurt Tehran finances but also the oil market's balance

Trump on Friday evening reasserted his openness to reaching a new Iran deal "that forever blocks its path to a nuclear weapon, addresses the entire range of its malign actions, and is worthy of the Iranian people".

Early on Monday the USA imposed its "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran that it had earlier lifted after the signing of the nuclear agreement in July, 2015 between Tehran and Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany and the US.

"We are intent on making sure the Iranian regime stops siphoning its hard currency reserves into corrupt investments and the hands of terrorists", Mnuchin said in a statement.

Aside from restrictions on oil imports, the administration added more than 700 names - including individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft linked to the energy and financial sectors and other segments of Iran's economy - to the U.S. list of sanctioned entities. China's foreign ministry expressed regret at the US move. However, the USA has granted eight temporary waivers to countries that will let them wind down their imports over time.

Two of the countries have agreed to reduce imports to zero while six others "will import at greatly reduced levels", Pompeo said.

"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". America should learn that it cannot use the language of force against Iran.

He said the pressure "is only going to mount from here" unless Iran's leaders halt its support for terrorism and abandon its nuclear ambitions "immediately".

In August, the European Commission revamped its Blocking Statute, a 1995 law created to help European companies and banks recover damages arising from United States sanctions on third parties.

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilised.

Iran's clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.

As US sanctions created to push Iran's oil exports to zero came into effect on Tuesday, the hardline initially signaled by President Donald Trump softened as the deadline approached.

"We can see. the JCPOA was so much in favor of Iran's interests that America withdrew from it scandalously", Zarif told Iran's parliament.

There was no immediate statement from the Ministry of External Affairs but sources in New Delhi said this was the result of hectic negotiations over the last six months with U.S. officials.

The US advised SWIFT, the global messaging network that connects the world's financial institutions, to cut off its service for designated Iranian financial institutions.

China is a signatory to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - which includes Britain, France, Germany and Russian Federation - that Trump pulled out from earlier this year.

The 180-day period came to a close this week, restoring a heavier slate of sanctions on Iran than a first round that went into effect after the 90-day grace period. "We will take a look at the letter and respond accordingly", he said.

Diplomats told Reuters last month that the new European Union mechanism to facilitate payments for Iranian oil exports should be legally in place by November 4 but not operational until early next year.

Oil markets have been anticipating the sanctions for months and the world's biggest producers have been increasing output.

However eight countries have been granted a temporary exemption for six months despite U.S. warning previously that it would be harder for Iran's oil importers to get a waiver.

Currently, five companies, including SK Innovation, Hyundai Oilbank and Hanwha Total, are importing condensate - a very light crude oil - from Iran. WTI saw prices of $62.89.

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