U.S. Rules out Fur­ther Waivers on Iran Oil Im­ports

Iran News - - ایران نیوز -

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The United States will grant no more waivers for Ira­nian oil af­ter the reim­po­si­tion of U.S. sanc­tions, the U.S. spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Iran said on Satur­day, un­der­lin­ing Wash­ing­ton’s push to choke off Tehran’s sources of in­come.

“Iran is now in­creas­ingly feel­ing the eco­nomic iso­la­tion that our sanc­tions are im­pos­ing... We do want to deny the regime rev­enues,” Brian Hook told a news con­fer­ence in the United Arab Emi­rates cap­i­tal Abu Dhabi.

“Eighty per­cent of Iran’s rev­enues come from oil ex­ports and this is (the) num­ber one state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism.We want to deny this regime the money it needs,” Hook said. Ten­sions be­tween Iran and the United States have in­creased since May, when U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump aban­doned a 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Tehran and ma­jor pow­ers, say­ing the ac­cord was flawed in Tehran’s fa­vor, and rein­tro­duced sanc­tions on Iran that had been lifted un­der the pact.

“We want a new and bet­ter deal (with Iran) but in that process we are deny­ing the Ira­nian regime bil­lions and bil­lions of dol­lars and they are fac­ing a liq­uid­ity cri­sis,” Hook said.

The Is­lamic Repub­lic, he added, would not re­turn to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble with­out pres­sure. Tehran has re­fused to rene­go­ti­ate its nu­clear ac­cord and says its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gramme - an­other source of con­cern for Wash­ing­ton and its re­gional al­lies such as Is­rael and Saudi Ara­bia - is solely de­fen­sive and un­touch­able.

Hook said Wash­ing­ton was pleased with China cut­ting its oil im­ports from Iran, and that he ex­pected much deeper re­duc­tions in Ira­nian oil ex­ports. “We are just get­ting started,” he said. Iran’s crude ex­ports will be se­verely cur­tailed for a third month in Jan­uary as it strug­gles to find new buy­ers amid U.S. sanc­tions even though its tra­di­tional cus­tomers se­cured tem­po­rary waivers, ac­cord­ing to tanker data and in­dus­try sources.

Sep­a­rately, Omani Oil Min­is­ter Mo­hammed bin Ha­mad al-Rumhi told the news con­fer­ence that Wash­ing­ton had not asked the Per­sian Gulf Arab state to stop a gas pipe­line project with Iran and that talks were con­tin­u­ing. He said some part­ners for the project had pulled out be­cause of the risk of pun­ish­ment by Wash­ing­ton for deal­ing with Iran but that some other Asian firms were will­ing to take part. Hook de­clined to say what the ad­min­is­tra­tion in Wash­ing­ton would do when the cur­rent Iran waivers end in May. Wash­ing­ton granted waivers to eight ma­jor buy­ers of Ira­nian oil - in­clud­ing China, In­dia, Ja­pan and South Ko­rea - af­ter restor­ing en­ergy sanc­tions in Novem­ber.

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