United States reconsiders 'zero tolerance' policy on Iran oil imports

United States reconsiders 'zero tolerance' policy on Iran oil imports

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WASHINGTON - The Trump administration signaled for the first time on Friday it will consider sanctions waivers for countries that have significantly reduced, but not completely eliminated, their intake of Iranian oil.

USA sanctions on Iran's crude oil exports are due to come into effect from November 4, after being imposed with the aim of stopping Tehran's ballistic missile programme and its involvement in Syria and Iran conflicts.

The US administration is "in the midst of an internal process" of considering significant reduction exemptions, Reuters reported quoting an unnamed government official.

The administration is "prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis", the official said.

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India will buy a total of 9 million barrels of oil from Iran in November, foreign media reported yesterday, citing an industry source, despite U.S. sanctions on Tehran to return early next month. Bolton added that the administration would not necessarily achieve that.

India imported around 10 million barrels of Iranian oil in October, with the November shipment expected to be around 1 million barrels less than this. China, too, attempted in March to launch crude futures contracts in local currency to circumvent USA sanctions barring Tehran access to the greenback. Saudi Arabia and its allies have raised output to offset declining supply from the Persian Gulf nation and the kingdom can tap its spare capacity immediately to boost production further, the Saudi crown prince said in an interview.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced America's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Further weighing on oil prices was "chatter that Saudi Arabia has replaced all of Iran's lost oil", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

Speaking at the energy forum in New Delhi on Monday, Pradhan said India did not know whether it would receive a waiver from Washington's sanctions.

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