Will Washington loosen anti-Iranian sanctions?

Heather Nauert

Turkish officials say they fear Khashoggi was killed at the consulate last week.

Indian refiners imported around 10 million barrels of Iranian oil in October, and its November shipments are expected to be lower. Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices, which account for about 80 percent of Saudi public income, have increased by more than 70 percent since June a year ago to over $80 a barrel.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

President Donald Trump in May pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear accord, saying it had "failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb" and did not deal with Tehran's "malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism".

USA bank Jefferies said there was enough oil to meet demand, but "global spare capacity is dwindling to the lowest level that we can document". A second round of sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector is due to go into effect on November 5.

“Chatter that Saudi Arabia has replaced all of Iran's lost oil” is weighing on prices, said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

But Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, has repeatedly announced that its oil exports can not be reduced to zero because of high demand levels in the market. "We continue to have conversations with the government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)", Nauert said.




While the administration has said it may grant sanction waivers to avoid supply shocks, a tactic used in the Obama era, it has still maintained an objective of sending Iranian oil exports to zero.

These claims aim to satisfy the USA and express support for Washington's sanctions against Iran, he added.

Under the terms of the act, a report must be made in 120 days with a decision on he imposition of sanctions on whoever was responsible.

India had planned to import about 25 MT of crude oil from Iran in 2018-19, up from 22.6 MT imported in 2017-18.

"Obviously, all countries in the Persian Gulf region want to sell their oil, and the world is in need of this region's oil and other energy resources", the top Iranian diplomat said. "This is an obvious fact".

Brent crude oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Monday after Washington said it may grant waivers to sanctions against Iran's oil exports next month, and as Saudi Arabia was said to be replacing any potential shortfall from Iran.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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