Trump waiver crackdown to hit Iran's oil
The Trump administration has said it won't renew waivers that let countries buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions - a move that has roiled energy markets and risks upsetting major importers such as China and India.
"This decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said yesterday.
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"The US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world's great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied," according to the statement.
Brent for June settlement on London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange climbed to $73.72 a barrel at 9am in New York, up 2.4pc for the session.
Prices briefly were up as much as 3.3pc intraday, touching a new high for 2019.
The current set of waivers - issued to China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey - expire on May 2.
"We will no longer grant any exemptions - we're going to zero" and any nation continuing to buy Iranian oil will face US sanctions, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told reporters in Washington.
He said the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are "working directly with Iran's former customers".
The decision not to renew the waivers is a victory for National Security Adviser John Bolton and his allies who had argued that US promises to get tough on Iran were meaningless with waivers still in place.
Mr Pompeo and his team had been more cautious, though they also maintained that the market was well-enough supplied to ramp up pressure on Iran.