Iran's vice president confesses 'difficulties may lie ahead' after sanctions

The sanctions also cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 people and vessels in its shipping sector, Tehran's national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, a U.S. Treasury statement said.

"It is our duty to keep some of the worries to ourselves", IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying.

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 its ballistic missile program but also its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and other parts of the Middle East.

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday as concerns that an economic slowdown may curb fuel demand growth overshadowed the reintroduction of sanctions on Iran.

Some of the eight countries - China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea - include OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) member Iran's top customers.

'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.

This group of eight buyers imported over 80% of Iran's roughly 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports a year ago, Refiniv Eikon data shows.

In May, Trump exited Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and Washington reimposed first round of sanctions on Iran in August.

"America wanted to cut to zero Iran's oil sales ... but we will continue to sell our oil ... to break sanctions", Rouhani told economists at a meeting broadcast live on state television.

One of the sources said the United States had attached some strings to the import allowance, including counterparty disclosures and laying open settlement methods, which were being evaluated before placing new orders with Iran.

The country has lost around $2 billion in oil revenue and lost tens of billions of dollars in investment since May, when the United States pulled out of the nuclear agreement, the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, told a conference call.

That has helped to take the sting out of the sanctions threat, which helped to lift global benchmark Brent crude futures to four-year highs of nearly US$87 a barrel in early October.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says new American sanctions are an "indiscriminate assault" on his country. The session low was $61.31 a barrel, the weakest since March 16.

Even China, locked in a bitter trade war with the United States, bowed to pressure from Washington and dialled back imports.

Now it will be key to watch "what happens after the exemptions expire in 180 days", the merchant trader said.

Industry estimates suggest Iran's oil exports have fallen 40 to 60 percent since Trump said in May he would reimpose sanctions.

On the supply side, U.S. crude oil production is expected to average 12.06 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, passing the 12 million bpd milestone sooner than expected on surging domestic shale output, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

Vanessa Coleman

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