Restored U.S. sanctions on Iran cover shipping, financial and energy sectors

Mae Love
November 4, 2018

Iranian officials are betting on the unstable market conditions to beat U.S. sanctions.

Turkey has been told it will temporarily be allowed to keep buying Iranian oil, its energy minister told reporters, as has Iraq, as long as it does not pay Iran in US dollars, three Iraqi officials said.

Iran's economy isn't directly reliant on the U.S. financial system, says Richard Nephew, a sanctions expert and senior researcher at Columbia University.

Iran is heavily dependent on its exports of oil, and renewed sanctions, if effective, would hit the economy hard.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Friday the exemptions were being given "only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts and have made important moves towards getting to zero crude oil importation".

On Thursday, Trump also announced plans to sign an executive order in the coming week and urged troops stationed at the border to treat any migrant who so much as throws rocks as though they have a rifle. Indeed, with USA gasoline prices still relatively high and midterm elections just days away, Trump has some incentive to soften his offensive.

In a message Saturday, from Bulgaria, the Israeli prime minister expressed his thanks to the president, calling the decision to restore US sanctions on Iran 'historic'.

"The last set of sanctions lifted under the awful nuclear deal will come back into force, including powerful sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and sanctions targeting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and sanctioned Iranian banks", the President said.

Such is the dominance of the U.S. in global trade, that even the announcement of the renewed sanctions has been enough to trigger a wave of worldwide companies pulling their investments out of Iran, and its crude oil exports have been falling.

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"It's important to keep our eyes on the prize when it comes to Iranian revenues, whether they be derived from oil or any other sort of sanctionable transaction". He did not say whether individual European countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain might be granted waivers.

Turkey has been told that it will receive a waiver from the USA oil sanctions against Iran, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said Friday.

"So in 2012, not buying Iranian oil and living up to very tough sanctions ... was a way in their mind to avoid a war", Ross said on a call hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy today, referring to the Europeans.

With limited exceptions, the re-imposed US sanctions will hit Iran as well as countries that do not stop importing Iranian oil and foreign firms that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including its central bank, a number of private financial institutions, and state-run port and shipping firms, as well as hundreds of individual Iranian officials. He declined to specify the targeted institutions.

Mahmoud Sadeghi, an Iranian politician, said the move would further unite the Iranian nation against the threat of Trump's "bullying tactics".

"America will not be able to carry out any measure against our great and fearless nation. We have the knowledge and the capability to manage the country's economic affairs", Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, told state television.

Iranians will be forced into finding creative ways to sell oil, relying on their years of experience of life under previous sanctions.

The "US addiction to sanctions is out of control", Zarif wrote on Twitter.

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