US Slams Iran with Crippling Sanctions over Weapons Programs

The US today imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran.

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

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil as they showed "significant reduction" in oil purchase from the world's fifth-biggest producer.

The original aim of the sanctions was to cut Iran's oil exports as much as possible, to quash its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and curb its support for militant proxies, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

Iran said it had so far been able to sell as much oil as it needs and urged European countries opposed to USA sanctions to do more to shield Iran.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the country, a top importer of Iranian oil, would not abide by the sanctions, which he said were aimed at "unbalancing the world".

Oil prices rallied above $85 per barrel in October on fears of a steep decline in Iranian exports.

Output from these three countries in October exceeded 33 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time, meaning they alone meet more than a third of the world's nearly 100 million bpd of crude oil consumption. The Iranian regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billion in oil revenue, he said.

Japan's trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, said on Tuesday that Japanese buyers of Iranian oil were expected to resume imports from the Islamic Republic after the country received a waiver from United States sanctions.

- The "largest-ever" USA sanctions list targeting Iran drew mockery from Iranian officials on Tuesday for including mothballed Boeing 747s, a bank that closed years earlier and a sunken oil tanker that exploded off China months ago.

Trump pulled America out of the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers in May.

The minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said in his letter to OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo that some members of the committee "openly take side with the United States in imposing unilateral and illegal sanctions against Iran".

South Korea says it can also continue exporting non-sanctioned products to Iran after the United States agreed to recognize a transaction system where local companies receive payments through two Korean won-denominated accounts that Iran's central bank opened in South Korea.

International Brent crude oil futures were down 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $72.96 a barrel.

Jameel Ahmad, head of market research at futures brokerage FXTM said the "sanctions on Iran have been.priced into the oil markets a long time ago", and that he would "instead focus more heavily on the global demand outlook because of the ongoing external uncertainties weighing down on economic prospects".

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

The new sanctions particularly hurt Iran's vital oil industry, which provides a crucial source of hard currency. We've already reduced Iranian crude oil experts by over a million barrels per day.

Vanessa Coleman

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