Trump to end waivers on Iran oil imports: W. House

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News that the United States is preparing to announce on Monday that current buyers of Iranian oil would no longer be given waivers to sanctions was first reported on Sunday by the Washington Post. If they don't go along with Trump's demands, that could cause tensions in both bilateral relationships and spill over into other issues, like trade, the report said.

The United State considers Iran an "outlaw regime" and the world's biggest supporter of radical Islamic terrorism.

The United States on Monday said it will eliminate in May all waivers granted to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil without facing USA sanctions, as it ratcheted up pressure to choke off all oil revenues of the Islamic Republic.

President Donald Trump has decided not to reissue the waivers when they expire in early May, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. He said Beijing's dealings with Iran are "reasonable and legitimate".

Israel, he said, "will continue to be the United States' loyal partner in the struggle against Iranian aggression".

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Removing the sanctions exemptions would reduce oil supply from a market that is already tight because of USA sanctions against Iran and fellow OPEC-member Venezuela.

Despite earlier threats to bring Iranian crude oil exports down "to zero", Washington granted "temporary waivers" on exports to major customers, like China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Greece, and Turkey, as well as Taiwan.

This photo from March 12, 2017, shows a an Iranian oil facility on Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf.

China opposes Washingtons unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. They're no longer trading in Iranian oil (at least not officially), but they will see this escalation as particularly unwelcome.

Last November, the United States reimposed sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector, following Mr Trump's exit from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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The waivers were meant to give them time to find alternate energy sources and to prevent a sudden shortage on the global oil markets.

"If there is a time for the U.S.to be able to take a hard line it is now, with the Saudis having over 2 million barrels (per day) of spare capacity", said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by phone last week.

"Whether the waivers continue or not, Iran's oil exports will not be zero under any circumstances unless Iranian authorities decide to stop oil exports. and this is not relevant now", Tasnim quoted the unnamed "informed source" as saying.

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