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India, China among 8 countries allowed to buy Iranian oil: Mike Pompeo

As sanctions on Tehran take effect, U.S. announces list of nations with waivers

India is one of eight countries to receive temporary exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iran that came into effect on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

Addressing a joint press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington on Monday, Mr. Pompeo said, “We have decided to issue temporary allotments to a handful of countries, responsible [sic] to the specific circumstances and to ensure a well supplied oil market. The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.”

Each country on the list had demonstrated “significant reductions “ of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, according to Mr. Pompeo. He added that two have stopped importing oil altogether from Iran and would not do so as long as sanctions were in effect.

“We continue negotiations to get all the nations to zero,” he said.

In the last fiscal year India, which imports over 80% of its oil, sourced some 10% of its oil imports, or just over 22 million tons from Iran. The Indian Oil Corporation is the biggest Indian customer for Iranian oil.

More than 20 countries have decreased their imports of Iranian crude, the Secretary of State said, cutting Iran’s oil revenues by more than $2.5 billion since May this year, when Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “ Iran Deal” .

The European Union, which has stayed in the deal, has been frustrated by the America’s efforts to stifle European business’s activities with Irandespite the EU staying in the deal.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the international financial messaging service headquartered in Belgium, has said it will comply with U.S. sanctions as have many other European companies, faced with the choice of being penalized by the U.S. or trading with Iran.

“I promise you that doing business with Iran in defiance of our sanctions, will ultimately be a much more painful business decision than pulling out of Iranand being connected to Iran entirely,” Mr Pompeo said.

Three Iran Sites to be Exempt

“We have decided to grant narrow and temp waivers to permit the continuation of three non-proliferation projects, currently underway, allowing these activities to continue for the time being,” Mr. Pompeo said. He confirmed that the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would be one of the three sites. The other two have not been released at the time of going to press.

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