India and China will be among the countries the United States (US) is hoping to persuade against importing oil from Iran after it's November deadline. US President Donald Trump's administration appears to be quite serious about imposing severe sanctions against Iran's oils exports to squeeze the middle-eastern country into giving up its sabre rattling on Israel and on the nuclear weapons issue.
The US had set a 4 November deadline for countries still importing oil from Iran. While US allies and other countries had expected the US to continue issuing waivers against sanctions, officials in the Trump administration have told the media that such waivers may not be issued after all. Under Barack Obama, the US would routinely issue waivers for country's reducing Iranian oil imports by 20 per cent and such.
"We will certainly be requesting that their oil imports go to zero without question by Nov. 4th", a US State Department official was quoted as saying to the Wall Street Journal. The official claimed that current administration is not at all inclined towards issuing waivers against sanctions.
US officials have already begun speaking and travelling to various countries in order to persuade them to cease importing Iranian oil. US allies in Europe and Asia have been 'warned' while China, India and Turkey will see senior US officials visiting to get the message across. China and India are among the largest importers of Iranian oil. US officials have said that companies engaging in oil trade with Iran are likely to face penalties and will risk being blocked out of the US markets.
The Trump administration had earlier pulled out of the nuclear accord with Iran and reimposed sanctions against the country aimed at hitting the latter's oil, banking, shipping, insurance and trade sectors.
Iran's oil exports are already down to 2.2 million barrels a day, a significant drop from 2.7 million barrels a day. Companies such as Indian Oil Corporation have already considered cutting Iranian oil purchases after State Bank of India decided to stop dealing with Iran.
As news of the US's hardening stance reached the markets, oil price rose by 3 per cent on US benchmark crude. On the Brent, the prices were up by 2 per cent on Tuesday evening. It is still unclear as to whether other major oil producers such as the US and Saudi Arabia will be able to fill in the gap left behind by the stoppage of Iranian oil exports which contribute some 2 per cent of global oil demand. US daily output was at an all-time high of 10.9 million barrel a day in the first week of June.
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