WASHINGTON – The US has given temporary exemptions to eight countries including India from Iran sanctions and they can continue buying Iranian oil as they showed “significant reduction” in oil purchase from the Persian Gulf country.
According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo eight countries — India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil, reports PTI.
US President Donald Trump said he gave temporary exemptions to India and seven other major importers of Iranian oil as they sought US’ “help” and he did not want to drive oil prices “up to US$ 100 a barrel or US$ 150 a barrel”.
The US on November 5 imposed “the toughest ever” sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime’s “behaviour”.
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, according to the report.
“I gave some countries a break on the oil. I did it a little bit because they really asked for some help,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in the White House on Wednesday.
The waivers are only temporary, and the US will expect countries that get them to keep cutting Iranian imports in the months ahead, according to the US administration official, who declined to give details on the volume of oil the nations will be allowed to buy under the exemptions.
The President said he also did it “because I don’t want to drive oil prices up to USD 100 a barrel or USD 150 a barrel”.
Trump said the sanctions may “get tougher as time goes by”, but he does not want them to have any effect on the global oil prices worldwide as he “consider that to be a tax, and I don’t like taxes”.
Global benchmark Brent crude has fallen about 15 per cent from over $85 a barrel last month on increasing speculation that at least some nations will get waivers, as well as signs that other OPEC members will pump more to offset any supply gap.
At another press conference, the State Department said its goal is to go down to zero oil import from Iran and during the next six months, it will monitor the diplomatic progress and the price of oil to ensure that the imposition of the sanctions was calibrated in the right way. — Agencies