Friday, 16 November, 2018


Iran draws sting from oil prices

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Conrad Doyle | 09 November, 2018, 07:56

Preventing oil prices from rising any further has been a relentless rise in United States crude output, which hit a record 11.6 million bpd in the week ending November 2, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.

The sanctions exception granted to the Chabahar project aims to further USA ties with Afghanistan and India "as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilizing policies in the region and beyond", the State Department spokesman said.

The US has warned ports and insurance companies to avoid dealing with Iranian ships, as new sanctions are slapped on Tehran by Washington.

"The US will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey".

"The president's South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India", the State Department spokesperson also reportedly said.

India has seen Chabahar as a key way both to send supplies to Afghanistan and to step up trade with Central Asia as well as Africa.

Iran late a year ago inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean, which is being built largely by India and is expected to provide a key supply route for Afghanistan while allowing India to bypass rival Pakistan to trade with Central Asia and Africa. The port project is simply too critical for India and can benefit Afghanistan immensely. The port stands in contrast to China's own port project in Gwadar, Pakistan.

Imports rose 8.1 percent for the first 10 months of the year from the same period last year to 377.16 million tonnes, or 9.06 million bpd, on track for another record year of shipments.

Zahedan is also in Iran but closer to the Afghanistan border.

The exemption for Chabahar comes as good news for India and Afghanistan, but undercuts the Trump administration's portrayal of the sanctions as the "toughest ever". "There's a handful of places were countries that have - that have already made significant reductions in their crude oil exports need a little bit more time to get to zero, and we're going to provide that to them".

While Pompeo said more than 20 importing nations have already zeroed out their imports of Iranian crude, he warned the USA will continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero.

"The Iranian regime has a choice".

With this exception, however, business as usual will continue for now at Chabahar.

Commenting on this data, "Once again, the US has shown that when it is economic to do so, it can increase production at a greater pace than Saudi Arabia".

The two countries have been trading oil and other products, by paying and receiving Korean won through the Iranian central bank's accounts at two South Korean banks.

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