The United States has granted exemptions to eight countries, including Turkey, allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Nov. 5, as Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran‘s banking, energy and shipping industries.
The U.S. reintroduced sanctions against Iranian oil on Nov. 5 while giving some of Washington’s closest allies exemptions that allow Tehran’s biggest customers, mostly in Asia, to keep buying crude for now.
Washington has restored measures lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with Tehran by the administration of President Barack Obama.
President Donald Trump’s administration added 300 new designations including Iran‘s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors, aiming to cripple Iran‘s main export revenues from the petroleum industry.
Despite this, Iran will continue to sell some oil as Washington said on Nov. 2 it would temporarily allow eight importers to keep buying Iranian supplies.
It was not clear yet what individual volumes or aggregate volume the waivers entail. During the previous wave of sanctions on Iran in 2012 exemptions were given to China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and EU countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain for a total amount of over 1 million barrels per day.
South Korea said on Nov. 5 it had been granted a waiver to continue at least temporarily importing condensate from Iran and running financial transactions with the Middle Eastern country. Condensate – a super-light crude oil – is a critical feedstock for South Korea’s petrochemical industry.
South Korea, a U.S. ally and one of Asia’s biggest buyers of Iranian oil, asked Washington for “maximum flexibility” last week, after some of its construction firms cancelled energy-related contracts in Iran due to financing difficulties.
The SWIFT banking network also said Nov. 5 it has suspended “certain Iranian banks” from its services.
“In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system,” it said.
“This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”
“I announce that we will proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions because it’s against international regulations,” Rouhani said in a televised speech on Nov. 5.
“We are in a situation of economic war, confronting a bullying power. I don’t think that in the history of America, someone has entered the White House who is so against law and international conventions,” he added.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Washington had made itself more isolated by pursuing the sanctions.
“US bullying is backfiring… The US — and not Iran — is isolated,” Zarif said in a tweet.