Thursday, 21 June, 2018


Europe still buying Iranian oil amid sanctions threat

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Iran's Javad Zarif at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on May 13 Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Iran's Javad Zarif at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on May 13
Conrad Doyle | 16 May, 2018, 22:31

Bolton struck a hawkish tone with his comments in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" program.

The United States plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran, which pumps about 4 percent of the world's oil, after abandoning a deal reached in late 2015 that limited Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for the removal of US and European sanctions.

He is due to meet with counterparts from Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday. "None of these three countries will be prepared to fully comply with United States demands; however, the more significant part of Iranian exports is where Iran earns hard currency from the sale of its crude".

"We are stakeholders in the Vienna agreement and we are going to stay stakeholders", Le Drian told reporters in Dublin on Sunday.

Germany said it would spend the next few months trying to persuade Washington to change its mind.

"It's not just about the ability of European companies to do business with Iran", recalled O'sullivan, noting that Iran also operating companies from China and Russian Federation.

"There is a realization among all European states what we can not keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit to American decisions", said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. "We are at a stage in the Middle East where even academics and non-governmental researchers from various countries can not get together in the Middle East and network", she says.

Pompeo said he was "hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but their missiles and their malign behavior as well". This could in turn lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia also planning a nuclear program unless Iran is kept under check. "Now, that will not happen!"

Trump made clear that there may be punishments for the United Kingdom and other European nations when he announced his withdrawal from the "decaying and rotten" agreement last Monday. Military tensions between Iran and Israel have already mounted, and oil prices are rising on the uncertainty. CBS News reported that Macron's office said the two leaders spoke on Saturday and the French leader expressed his "great concern about stability' in the region".

As a private citizen, Bolton in the past has suggested that the United States push for a change in Iran's government. "One of the questions that we need to ask the Americans is whether their final objective is to make the Iranians yield on its nuclear programme or to get rid of the regime", said a senior French official, acknowledging that Paris was concerned by the ideological shift in Washington since John Bolton was appointed US National Security Advisor.

Trump's threat extended to other nations trading with Iran, as he also said should they not follow suit, sanctions against these countries were on the cards, too.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, however, that it could be hard to protect European firms from any fallout from the US decision.

"The consequences of American sanctions go well beyond goods shipped by American companies, " Bolton said.

But plenty of other analysts say the oil rally may not last, including Ben Cook of BP Capital Fund Advisors, who foresees an inventory drop of 300K-400K bbl/day instead of the 1M bbl/day that had been removed from the market before sanctions against Iran were lifted in 2015.

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