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United States hints at sanctions waivers on Iran oil

3 7 28

The Trump administration’s top diplomat has indicated the United States might grant waivers to some countries allowing them to continue importing Iranian crude when sanctions snapback in November.

“There will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for relief,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday in a television interview with Sky News Arabia. “We’ll consider it.”

In a separate briefing for reporters travelling with the secretary, a senior State Department official elaborated on recent discussions between US diplomats and their Saudi counterparts.

“In our meeting with the Saudi energy minister, we discussed maintaining a well-supplied oil market to guard against volatility,” the unnamed official told reporters in a background briefing.

“We coordinated – we discussed US oil sanctions to deny Iran revenue to finance terrorism. We talked about minimizing market disruptions and helping partners find alternatives to Iranian supply of oil,” the official added.

It remains unclear whether the latest comments from Pompeo about considering applications for waivers, and his unnamed briefer, represent a softening of the administration’s position.

Read: Pompeo: US will consider requests for waivers from Iran oil sanctions

Press briefings given earlier this month suggested that the administration’s goal was to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, possibly with effect from November.

“Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales,” a senior State Department official told reporters at a press briefing earlier this month.

“We are working to minimize disruptions to the global market, but we are confident that there is sufficient global spare oil production capacity,” Brian Hook, the director of policy planning, said on July 2.

“We are not looking to grant licences or waivers broadly on the re-imposition of sanctions, because we believe pressure is critical to achieve our national security objectives.”

On the other hand, the administration has also briefed journalists on background it will review waiver........

© Middle East Monitor