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U.S. snaps back Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to China, 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 industry, while temporarily allowing top customers such as and to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

Having abandoned the 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 its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, and other parts of the

Washington has pledged to completely stop purchases of from eventually, but for now it said eight countries - China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, and - can continue imports for now 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 crude per day off the market," U.S. told reporters in a briefing. "The regime to date since May has lost over $2.5 billions in "

"We have decided to issue temporary allotments to a handful countries responsive to the specific circumstances and to ensure a well supplied oil market," Pompeo said. "Each of those countries have already demonstrated significant reduction of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months."

The exemptions are designed to last up to 180 days.

U.S. officials have said the countries given temporary exemptions from the sanctions will deposit Iran's revenue in escrow accounts and will be able to use the funds for humanitarian purposes.

Iran's exports peaked at 2.8 million barrels per day in April, including 300,000 barrels per day of condensate, a lighter form of oil that when underground tends to exists 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.

rallied above $85 per barrel in October on fears of a steep decline in Iranian exports. Prices have fallen off 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 crude was up by more than $1 to a session high of $73.92 a barrel. U.S. crude futures were up about 1 percent at $63.85 a barrel. [O/R]

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

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

Iran's biggest in recent years have been China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the and

Casting the U.S. sanctions as "economic war," vowed to defy them while Iranian clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact on the economy.

"It will be difficult for Iran to maximise exports when virtually all trade in oil is cleared in U.S. dollars, putting international oil companies, many national oil companies, traders and banks off limits," said Homayoun Falakshahi, at

(Reporting By in SEOUL, Kaori Kaneko and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO, and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Additional Reporting by in NEW DELHI and Lesley Wroughton in WASHINGTON; Writing by Humeyra and and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by and Bill Trott)

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

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 20:59 IST
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