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U.S. renews Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to India, seven others

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON/SEOUL 

By Humeyra and Jane Chung

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - The snapped sanctions back in place on Monday to choke off Iran's and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as and to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

Having abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal, U.S. is trying to cripple Iran's and force to quash not only its nuclear ambitions and its ballistic missile program but also its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, and other parts of the

Earlier, Iranian said would to continue to sell its despite Washington's "economic war." said U.S. "bullying" was backfiring by making Washington more isolated, a reference to other world powers opposed to the initiative.

Washington has pledged to eventually halt all purchases of crude from globally but for now it said eight countries - China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, and - can continue imports without penalty. Crude exports contribute one-third of revenues.

"More than 20 importing nations have zeroed out their imports of already, taking more than 1 million barrels of crude per day off the market," U.S. told reporters in a briefing. "The regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billion in "

Pompeo said the waivers were issued to countries that have already cut purchases of Iranian crude over the past six months, and to "ensure a "

U.S. officials have said the countries given temporary exemptions will deposit revenue in escrow accounts for to use solely for humanitarian purposes. The exemptions are usually designed to last up to 180 days.

Iran's exports peaked at 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, including 300,000 bpd of condensate, a lighter form of oil that when underground tends to exist as gas. Overall exports have fallen to 1.8 million bpd since then, according to Wood Mackenzie, which expects volumes to drop further to 1 million bpd.

"This is only the beginning of the Iranian production curtailment story, not the end," said Michael Tran, at "The market was previously overly focused on the number of countries receiving exemptions on imports from Iran. The has made it clear that further reductions must be made over the coming months."

rallied above $85 per barrel in October on fears of a steep decline in Iranian exports. Prices have fallen since then on expectations that some buyers would receive exemptions and as supply from the world's largest producers has increased.

On Monday, international benchmark Brent futures were up nearly 0.6 percent to $73.23 a barrel and U.S. crude futures were up 0.4 percent at $63.39 a barrel.

(Click here to see a GRAPHIC on Iranian oil: 40 years of revolution, war, sanctions and bans.)

'SQUEEZE IRAN HARD'

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 statement said.

They include more corporate entities and individuals compared with sanctions imposed on Iran during the tenure of Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor.

"We've said for a long time: Zero should mean zero," John Bolton, told in an interview. "These are not permanent waivers - no way, we're going to do everything we can to squeeze Iran hard."

have been anticipating the sanctions for months and the world's biggest producers have been increasing output.

Joint output from the world's top producers - Russia, the and - in October rose above 33 million bpd for the first time, up 10 million bpd since 2010.

(Additional reporting by in NEW YORK, in SEOUL, Kaori Kaneko and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING, Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI and Lesley Wroughton in WASHINGTON; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk, and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by David Gaffen, and James Dalgleish)

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

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 23:18 IST
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