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Softening of American sanctions on Iran bodes well for India

09 November 2018, 02:20 | Devin Moran

Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Japan's trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, said on Tuesday that Japanese buyers of Iranian oil were expected to resume imports from the Islamic Republic after the country received a waiver from USA sanctions.

Brent crude had dropped from a four-year high in October above $86 a barrel to $71 on Tuesday.

The United States has been building closer relations with New Delhi since the late 1990s and also temporarily exempted India from sanctions on Iran's oil sector which took effect on November 5.

Iran is likely to ride out the storm from U.S. oil sanctions, suffering recession but no economic meltdown, thanks to rising crude prices and deepening divisions between the United States and other major powers, officials and analysts say.

Turkey has said it is also evaluating possible imports after receiving a waiver, but President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the country would not abide by the sanctions as they were aimed at "unbalancing the world".

But that will probably depend on what happens to the volume of Iranian imports.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the worldwide community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move.




"Trump thought he could shrink our country's oil revenues by imposing sanctions on Iran's oil and cutting its exports, but the rise in oil prices did not let that happen", Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of Iran's Planning and Budget Organization, said last month.

India has poured $2 billion into Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime, which was also opposed by Iran.

Portfolio managers have been net sellers of 371 million barrels since the end of September, taking their net long position to the lowest level for 15 months, according to records published by regulators and exchanges. Iran is not a member of this committee, which it wants scrapped.

According to the data released by the EIA this morning, crude inventories in the US increased by 5.8 million barrels in the week ended October 2, rising much more than forecasts. That revived concerns of a supply glut, in contrast to earlier fears over a crude crunch due to shrinking exports from the Persian Gulf state. EIA now sees the nation's output averaging 12.1 million barrels per day (Mmbpd) next year, up from last month's forecast of 11.5 Mmbpd.

Speaking in Madrid after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart Josep Borrell, the Russian foreign minister said Washington had used "unacceptable methods" to exert pressure on operators of the Belgian-based SWIFT global payment network to cut off Iranian banks.

For the Iranians, the 180-day waivers provides them with a financial lifeline and time to try and lobby support from other countries against Washington's sanctions.

India is, thus, being given time to phase out its oil imports from Iran in a calibrated fashion.



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