Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Iran says it can handle fresh sanctions amid unrest reports

Thousands of Iranians shut down Tehran's Grand Bazaar in largest protest in years Iran's president says his country is in "economic fight" with U.S.
Kelvin Reese | 28 June, 2018, 04:17

He said China and India, two major customers of Iran, are among those the United States has warned.

"Will the Prime Minister and Petroleum Minister tell the nation if they will adhere to the U.S. decision asking to stop oil imports from Iran and its impact on petro prices and national interests?", Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

The Trump administration is asking its global partners for a full halt on oil imports from Iran by November 4, saying non-compliance could lead to sanctions. After a deal reached this month among global oil producers to raise output, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation look set to take market share from Iran.

"Iran exports a total of 2.5 million barrels per day of crude and condensate and eliminating it easily and in a period of a few months is impossible", the official said.

Iran has announced a list of 15 demands for improving relations with the United States, including a US return to the 2015 nuclear accord, in response to a similar list of demands made by Washington last month. Given the huge energy needs, India and China are major importers of Iranian oil.

Ali Fazeli, the head of Iran's Chamber of Guilds, a business association, told the semi-official Tasnim news agency later on Monday: "Business is as usual in the Grand Bazaar". "I would be hesitant to say "zero waivers ever".

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The protest that shook the world on December 28 in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, and quickly spread throughout the country has picked up steam in the last few days - this time in Tehran.

The US has said firms that continue to do business with Iran risk punishment once sanctions are reintroduced.

India and China traditionally used to get a waiver from sanctions and kept trading with Iran even before the 2015 agreement, so speculation is rife as to whether they will manage to find workarounds this time.

Responding to questions, the official said all countries should start reducing the import of oil from Iran now and bring it to zero by 4 November. "But we will not sacrifice our independence", said Rouhani in an address broadcast on state television.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman would be in the USA next week for talks with their American counterparts secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary James Mattis.

Noting that America's allies are aware of its concern, the official claimed these countries want to work with the US. U.S. sources said the North Korean template, where punitive and extended sanctions brought Kim to the negotiating table might be repeated in the case of Iran. besides, across the political spectrum in Washington, Iran is the most easily identifiable enemy of the US. In January 2012, Iran agreed to accept India's local currency, the rupee, to settle almost half of its sales to India. Some official Iranian news sites reported that the United States dollar was selling for nearly 80,000 rials last week, compared with 60,000 rials in April, according to the semi-official Tasnim News, which cited trade on the unofficial, illegal markets.

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