Friday, 19 October, 2018

China frustrates USA efforts to end Iran's oil exports

China Rejects U.S. Request to Cut Iranian Oil Imports The U.S. has been unable to persuade China to cut Iranian oil imports according to 2 officials familiar with the negotiations
Orlando Vargas | 05 August, 2018, 16:38

But as the new Indian fiscal year began in April, refiners have been taking more Iranian oil imports compared to the previous fiscal year, as Iran offered incentives such as extended credit periods and nearly free shipping to keep its market share in India-Tehran's second-largest oil customer after China.

Oil traders had anticipated that sanctions would take Iranian barrels off the market, said Rob Haworth, who helps oversee US$151 billion at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.

She told CNBC with regards to the USA sanctions against Iran kicking in next week, "we're looking at tougher rhetoric and potentially tougher actions over August and September".

Since President Donald Trump announced in May that the USA would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and restoring sanctions on the country, Washington officials have attempted to convince foreign governments to stop importing Iranian oil.

In recent days, protests have broken out in several cities, with at least one person shot and killed.

On Friday, China said it will not cut Iranian oil imports despite President Trump threatening to sanction any countries that fail to stop importing Iranian oil by November 4, a symbolic date coinciding with the start of what became known as the Iranian hostage crisis.

Last month, state-run Hindustan Petroleum had to cancel an Iranian oil shipment as insurers were not willing to provide cover for its two refineries for processing Iranian oil, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Last month, USA officials familiar with the matter said the Trump administration had launched a communications campaign to foment unrest and put pressure on Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of armed groups.

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In a statement, Captain Bill Urban, the military's Central Command spokesman, said the United States was "aware of an increase" in Iranian naval operations in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

"Based on existing agreements, five new ATR aircraft will land at Mehrabad Airport at 9am (04:30 GMT) tomorrow [Sunday]", the national carrier said on its Telegram channel.

Their arrival means Iran Air has received 13 of the 20 passenger planes it ordered from the French-Italian manufacturer in April 2017.

The move was condemned by United States allies including the UK, Germany and France.

People are growing increasingly angry over rising inflation and a dramatic plunge in the currency - the rial - which has lost almost two-thirds of its value in the past six months.

It is not yet clear how all this will affect ordinary Iranians, but a European diplomat in Tehran who monitors the economy said prices of basic foods were already creeping up.

"We are already seeing vehicle prices going through the roof over fears about raw material imports", she told AFP.

"There is a massive loss of confidence in the financial system and the government's ability to control things and withstand sanctions", she said.

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