The U.S. ramped up pressure on Iran with sanctions on 700 entities, targeting its energy and banking sector as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to rein in what it calls the Islamic Republic’s “malign” activity in the Middle East as well as its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is scheduled to announce a list of eight countries that will get temporary waivers to keep importing Iranian oil at 8:30 a.m. Washington time on Monday. Trump said on Friday that Iran’s government must “either abandon its destructive behavior or continue down the path toward economic disaster.”
Read the full list of sanctioned entities here.
Sources familiar with the U.S. move said Japan, India and South Korea are among those getting waivers. China, the biggest purchaser of Iranian crude, was in talks for a waiver, while other requests were expected from Taiwan and Turkey. The U.S. warned that it could target the Swift financial messaging network for sanctions if it doesn’t halt transactions with sanctioned Iranian financial institutions. EU, German, U.K. and French officials last week said in a joint statement that they “deeply regret” the U.S. move and vowed to “protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday said the U.S. is “intent on ensuring that global funds stop flowing to the coffers of the Iranian regime.” Trump said Friday the U.S. is open to reaching a new, more comprehensive deal with Iran that “forever blocks its path to a nuclear weapon, addresses the entire range of its malign actions, and is worthy of the Iranian people.” The waivers prompted conservative U.S. critics of the administration’s approach — including Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — to say the White House was caving in on its tough line and to vow legislation to close what they consider loopholes.Market Reaction
Global benchmark Brent crude has fallen about 15 percent from over $85 a barrel last month on increasing speculation that at least some nations would get waivers, as well as signs that other OPEC members will pump more to offset any supply gap.Read More
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