United States snaps back Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to China, seven others

Vastavam web: The United States snapped sanctions back in place on Monday to choke Iran’s oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic. Having abandoned a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, U.S President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran’s oil-dependent economy and force Tehran to quash not only its nuclear ambitions and ballistic missile program but also support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

Washington has pledged to eventually halt all purchases of crude oil from Iran globally but for now it said eight countries – China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey – can continue imports without penalty. Crude exports contribute one-third of Iran’s government revenues. “More than 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,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in a briefing. “The regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billion in oil revenue.”

Trump said he wanted to go slow on the sanctions, citing concerns about causing global price spikes. “I could get the Iran oil down to zero immediately but it would cause a shock to the market. I don’t want to lift oil prices,” he told reporters before flying to a campaign event. Iran’s exports peaked at 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, including 300,000 bpd of condensate, a lighter form of oil. Overall exports have since fallen to 1.8 million bpd, according to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which expects volumes to drop to 1 million bpd.