Iran to Respond to Any Action against its Oil Shipments

Sergio Conner
March 15, 2019

"While the United States is working to develop an independent, sovereign Iraq, Iran is using its energy to create a vassal state", Pompeo added. "We are in talks with them and let's see what happens, let's wait for the result", Indian Petroleum Secretary M.M. Kutty said on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston, Texas.

The sources also added that the U.S. secretary of State would be seeking assistance from top oil executives to boost USA crude exports in to Asia and to back Trump Administration's policy of Iran quarantine over crude export agenda.

Concerns about the lack of supply were part of the USA giving waivers to several countries to keep buying Iranian oil, but those expire in May, and Hook's comments suggest the United States wants to renew less of them, to further damage Iran.

Iran reached an agreement with world powers in 2015 over its nuclear program which led to the lifting of sanctions in 2016 but U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in May a year ago and reimposed restrictions in November.

The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact.

"Zeroing out could prove difficult" one of the sources said, adding a price of around $65 a barrel for global benchmark Brent crude was "the high end of Trump's crude price comfort zone".

At least two other tankers registered to Panama - the Sarak and the Sobar - that were not previously considered part of Tehran's fleet - have been re-flagged to Iran this year.

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When asked about Iran's efforts to secure ships, a third Iranian source said they were looking at all options. "This brings the total number of Iran-related sanctions targets under this Administration to 927 entities, individuals, vessels, and aircraft", she said.

Vietnamese officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Washington may also deny waivers to some countries that have not bought Iranian crude recently, the sources said.

It is believed that more than 15 Iranian tankers are coming up to 20 years old.

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran, on March 13 reiterated the US policy, telling an industry conference in Houston that Washington was committed to bringing Iranian crude exports to zero.

Data based on AIS tracking by shipping intelligence platform MarineTraffic showed 12 Iranian tankers, or more than a fifth of its fleet, were being used for floating storage in March.

INU- Sources in Iran and across the West have said that Iran is trying to obtain second-hand oil tankers.

"Banks will not engage when you mention the Iran word".

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