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Temporary exemptions granted to eight countries to keep oil prices down: Trump on Iran sanctions

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

US has defended his decision to spare and seven other major importers of Iranian from immediate penalties, saying it was done to keep the global prices down and avoid causing a "shock" to the market.

The US on Monday reimposed all penalties that had been lifted as part of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal as the added nearly 700 targets, including 50 Iranian financial institutions, to a sanctions list.

It marked an intensifying effort to strangle Iran's to pressure the regime to change its ways, especially to force to stop the ballistic missiles programme and abandon its nuclear ambitions if wants to seek a path to sanctions relief.

The crippling sanctions cover Iran's and and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian imports.

said that India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, and were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil as they showed "significant reduction" in from the world's fifth-biggest

"We have the toughest sanctions ever imposed. But on oil, we want to go a little bit slow because I don't want to drive the in the world up," Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews outside on Monday before leaving on a campaign trail for the mid-term polls being held on Tuesday.

He, however, emphasised that his effort to keep the down has nothing to do with

When asked about his decision to give temporary exemptions to eight economies from the ban on Iranian oil imports, Trump said, "I'm not looking to be a great hero and bring it down to zero immediately. I could get the oil down to zero immediately, but it would cause a shock to the market. I don't want to lift "

"If you notice, oil prices are going down very substantially, despite the fact that already half of their capacity is gone. But I don't want to do that," he said.

"I saw some people saying, 'Oh, why aren't you tougher on that?' Well, the sanctions are very tough and I don't want to lift the oil prices worldwide by clamping down 100 per cent. It will be gradual," the US said.

India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports.

is its third-largest supplier after and and meets about 10 per cent of total needs. Currently, pays its third largest in euros using European channels.

has resisted Washington's call to reduce purchases to zero, citing the galloping of its 1.3 billion people.

Oil prices initially soared on fears that the Iran sanctions would knock the world's fifth-biggest offline. However, fears of a supply shortage have been eased by the Trump administration's temporary waivers for and India and from and the United States, reported.

On Monday, Pompeo said over 20 importing nations have zeroed out their imports of already, taking more than 1 million barrels of crude per day off the market. The Iranian regime to date since May has lost over USD 2.5 billion in oil revenue, he said.

Additionally, 100 per cent of the revenue Iran receives from the sale of oil will be held in foreign accounts. Iran can only use this money for humanitarian trade or bilateral non-sanctioned goods, the asserted.

Meanwhile, the leadership criticised Trump for giving exemptions to some of the major Iranian

said, "Rather than achieving its stated goal of eliminating Iran's altogether, the administration has issued 'exemptions' for major Iranian oil importers, allowing Iran to earn billions of dollars from "

Hoyer alleged that by "tearing" up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the has isolated the and undermined the multilateral efforts to curb Iran's "dangerous" behaviour.

US claimed that the nuclear deal with Iran failed to "permanently block all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb".

"Further, its negotiators failed to secure any restrictions on Iran's other destabilising activities, including the regime's ballistic missile development and proliferation," he told a audience.

Democratic Senator Tom Udall, who is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "Led by people like John Bolton, who believe that we should bomb Iran, I fear the is marching toward another catastrophic war in the "

But Senator Bob Corker, the of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration deserves credit for re-imposing sanctions and dramatically reducing Iran's and revenues.

Imposing maximal economic pressure on Iran is vital for getting back to the table, he said.

In May, Trump had pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark JCPOA terming it as disastrous". Under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the and Germany, Iran had agreed to stop its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

After the US' withdrawal from the deal, Trump signed fresh sanctions against Iran, which claims its nuclear programme is peaceful and for civilian purpose.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 14:05 IST