Iran seeks European assurances as USA oil sanctions loom

Donald Trump Goes All ‘Game Of Thrones’ With Iranian Sanctions Reimposition

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Friday that the USA would temporarily allow eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil even after enforcing its sanctions on Tehran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced exemptions for eight countries, without naming them.

No names had been mentioned, but Japan, South Korea, India and maybe China were expected to be included.

Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, which were also parties to the 2015 accord, have said that they will set up a new payments system to maintain business links with Iran and bypass U.S. sanctions. They were in captivity for 444 days in what remains the longest hostage crisis in history.

Pompeo said the United States will be issuing temporary, six-month waivers for eight jurisdictions that have significantly reduced, though not eliminated, their imports of Iranian oil.

But for now, Iran seemed likely to try to endure the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign, she said. He argued that they will "hit at the core areas of Iran's economy" and "are necessary to spur changes we seek on the part of the regime", while adding that the "administration's efforts to change Iranian behavior are far broader, far deeper".

Having abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran's oil-dependent economy and force Tehran to quash not only its nuclear ambitions and ballistic missile program but also its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

At the time, he began reimposing sanctions that had been suspended or removed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

The US will reimpose oil sanctions against Iran on Monday.

It is our aim to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

United States oil futures climbed to a four-year high near US$77 a barrel last month on growing concerns there could be a shortage as sanctions bite deeper.

Trump had pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May calling it the worst deal in history, and continues to rail against it; on Friday he called it "horrible, one-sided " and "disastrous".

"Trump, his war cabinet, and regional cheerleaders in [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [Saudi Arabia's crown prince] Mohammed bin Salman do not have the Iranian or American people's best interests at heart", he continued.

"The US has had some success in terms of frightening away major corporations".

The US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, also announced that Swift, the private financial messaging service that allows banks to communicate securely, would also be subject to sanctions.

"U.S. licenses for the sale by Airbus and Boeing of commercial aircraft to Iran Air and other Iranian airlines have been revoked, causing cancellation of sales".

"SWIFT is no different than any other entity", Mnuchin said.

The agreement saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

In addition to the countries allowed to continue buying Iranian oil, the backing of China, Iran's largest trading partner, may also prove critical.

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