Oil drops on Iran sanction exemptions, economic concerns

Oil drops on Iran sanction exemptions, economic concerns

It comes as Turkey criticised the US renewal of sanctions on Iran's oil and shipping industries, saying it was risky to isolate Iran and unfair to punish its people, Anadolu news agency reported.

It is the 13th cargo to depart for Iran since July when the U.S. war with China began and looming American sanctions on Tehran forced some Asian and European companies to stop imports of Iranian crude. Gholamali Khoshroo called on Antonio Gooteresh to uphold the rule of law.

"Moscow will do everything it can to preserve and expand worldwide trade, economic and financial cooperation with Iran despite the USA sanctions", the state-run TASS news agency declares, citing the Russian foreign ministry.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's comments to reporters in Japan came a day after Washington reimposed sanctions, abandoning a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme, while temporarily allowing major customers including Turkey to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

The US on Monday imposed "the toughest ever" sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime's "behaviour".

Washington has agreed to let eight countries keep buying Iranian oil. I could get the Iran oil down to zero immediately, but it would cause a shock to the market.

"We are in the war situation, " Rouhani said.

Officials say the sanctions, other than putting Iran's economy under some strain, are also an opportunity to wean it off oil and diversify the country's sources of income.

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The Trump administration was caught between allies at home and overseas and the reality of global economics on Monday as it reinstated sanctions on Iran, was forced to carve out exemptions for important allies and back off on measures that could have been even more punishing for Tehran.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Kremlin's foreign ministry "strongly condemned" the new wave of USA sanctions, arguing that the move deals "another powerful blow to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)". The list targets more than 700 entities, including individuals, banks, aircraft and vessels. The sanctions freeze any assets that those targeted have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

"When I look at the list, it's obviously very large economies that still in many ways depend on Iran oil imports and at this time don't have any strong alternatives", said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

The U.S. has granted temporary exemptions from these latter sanctions to eight countries that purchase Iranian oil: China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea. Among those are 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 people and ships, Iran's state-run airline Iran Air and more than 65 of its planes.

Trump on Monday said he wants to impose sanctions on Iran's oil gradually, citing concerns about shocking energy markets and causing global price spikes. So far this year, the United States has sent 873,420 tonnes of soybeans to Iran, according to Bloomberg. Imposing maximal economic pressure on Iran is vital for getting Tehran back to the table, he said.

More than 20 other countries have already canceled their oil business with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"There are a lot of questions about the sanctions, about waivers", said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

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