Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Mnuchin says US to consider waivers on Iran sanctions

Mnuchin says US to consider waivers on Iran sanctions

There is one big hitch in US plans to stem buying of Iranian oil: China.

On the USA sanctions, the government has been maintaining that it will go by what is in the country's national interest.

The rupee-rial arrangement was used to buy oil from Iran before sanctions were lifted against it three years ago.

It was not immediately clear whether Gokhale requested the United States delegation to consider providing India some waiver from the sanctions.

India has also been hoping that it will get some relief from the sanctions.

India is expected to push hard for such measures, or barring that a move by the U.S. to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep oil prices from sky-rocketing when Iran is cut off.

"We want people to reduce oil purchases to zero, but in certain cases if people can't do that overnight, we'll consider exceptions", Mnuchin told reporters on Friday, clarifying some USA officials' comments that there would be no exemptions.

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Enthused at the Indian government granting approval to an Iranian bank recently after nearly 8-9 years of waiting, the two sides are also looking at "different banking mechanisms" to overcome the sanctions imposed by the US.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday that Iran had filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice in the Hague against unilateral USA sanctions.

Iran has said it will stay in the deal if it still receives the economic benefits.

The Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November when the United States reimposes sanctions against Tehran, after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers, against the advice of allies in Europe and elsewhere.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed with Russian Federation and other oil-producing allies on June 23 to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia pledging a "measurable" supply boost, but giving no specific numbers. India is yet to take a call on complying with the U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, government sources said India is looking at the possibility of falling back on the rupee-rial arrangement for importing oil from Iran in the wake of United States sanctions. The remaining 45 per cent payment was remitted in rupees in accounts Iranian oil companies had with the Uco Bank.

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