United States doesn't want to harm friends, allies with Iran sanctions - Bolton

Arturo Kim
November 2, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned Iranians they face hard times when new US sanctions take effect on Sunday but said the government would do its best to alleviate them.

Iran said it does not fear the impending US sanctions that are set to go into effect next week. "Iranian hospitals are already starting to report medical shortages as a result of financial sanctions that make banks reluctant to handle Iranian transactions".

The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Yet, one thing is clear, and here analysts were right-Iran's top two single largest oil customers, China and India, will continue to import Iranian crude.

- Financial transactions. Starting on Monday, any foreign institution that does business with Iran's central bank or other banks in the country will lose access to the US financial system.

India has told the US that it would be impossible for India until at least next March to stop importing Iranian oil-which is cheaper than alternatives-because of India's rising energy bill and weaker currency, an Indian government source told Reuters earlier this week.

The US has insisted all along that it wanted every country to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero eventually, but was open to country-specific waivers that would allow limited imports by those pledging "significant" cut. A state department spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday, "on November 5th 12:01, sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear deal will come back into full effect".

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"I think it's important that we not relax in the effort" to keep putting pressure on Tehran, he said. The US sanctions have driven away Indian and global shippers and insurers from extending their services for Iranian oil imports. "There is much more that it's going to need to do", he said.

But the move has backfired on U.S. President Donald Trump as it led to a steep rally in oil prices, including the cost of gasoline, ahead of U.S. mid-term elections.

Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.

"They know the President's words, which are that if you choose to do business with Iran, that is your choice, but if you do you won't do business with America as well".

With Saudi Arabia pumping 10.65 million bpd in October, combined output from the top-three oil producers is at a record 33.41 million bpd, meaning that Russian Federation, the United States and Saudi Arabia meet more than a third of the world's nearly 100 million bpd of consumption. Iran used the funds to buy goods from India.

Iran said on Friday the report on waivers showed that the market needed the country's crude.

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