U.S. renews Iran sanctions, grants 8 nations waivers for oil purchases

The United States snapped sanctions back in place to choke Iran's oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top Iranian oil customers
Monday, 05 November 2018 20:21

The United States has re-imposed massive sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s energy, shipping, banking and shipbuilding sectors while granting exemptions to eight nations for oil purchases from Tehran and exempting from sanctions Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Monday’s package is the second round of sanctions the United States re-imposed against Iran after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement, which is more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

U.S President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran's oil-dependent economy. Trump said he wanted to go slow on the sanctions, citing concerns about causing global price spikes.

"I could get the Iran oil down to zero immediately but it would cause a shock to the market. I don't want to lift oil prices," he told reporters before flying to a campaign event.

The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 people and vessels in its shipping sector, Tehran's national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the United States has granted sanctions waivers to three civilian nuclear energy projects in Iran, including the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The plant was connected to the national electric grid in 2011 and reached full capacity the following year. Russia’s Rosatom nuclear energy corporation is currently working on constructing the second stage of the power plant.

The United States has exempted nations from the sanctions on importing oil, including China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Mnuchin said the United States has also agreed for the European Union to keep conducting certain humanitarian and trade transactions with Iran.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters that the United States has not seen much demand to use a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) envisioned by the European Union to conduct transactions with Iran.

The European Union came up with several initiatives to keep Iran in the multilateral nuclear agreement, including the SPV it wants to set up with Russia and China to allow any country to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iran.