‘Watch what we do’, USA tells Iran crude buyers India and China

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf

"That's a good thing for American consumers", Pompeo said.

Wallace then asked Pompeo if it's true that the Trump administration will be giving exemptions to China and India, and if so, does the White House "have a firm commitment that within six months, they will stop all oil purchases?"

But oil imports from Iran had started declining in FY18 to 22.6 million tonnes from 27.2 million tonnes in FY17.

Oil is Iran's main source of income. "In 2019, our projections are that oil supply will exceed demand, and that creates a much better atmosphere for us to bring remaining nations to zero as quickly as possible", Hook said.

The countries will deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account and the funds will be used for humanitarian purposes, according to U.S. officials.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, along with German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström and Danish Foreign Affairs Ministe Anders Samuelsen held a conference call with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Saturday, to discuss the blowback to the European Union as a result of the reimposition of US sanctions.

An expanded USA blacklist, announced in October, took some in Iran by surprise as it targeted banks exempt from earlier rounds of sanctions. "The authorities are in direct contact with the competent authorities of the United States, the European Union and Iran", the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

Rallies replete with "Death to America" chants are staged on the embassy takeover anniversary every year, "but US-Iranian rancour is especially strong this time round following Trump's decision in May to withdraw the United States from world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran" reports Reuters. "Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice: either abandon its destructive behaviour or continue down the path toward economic disaster", he added. "The US - and not Iran - is isolated", Zarif said in a tweet.

The other parties to the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - opposed the United States move and say the accord is working as intended in keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of country's military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said last week that President Hassan Rouhani's cellphone was tapped recently.

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"Petrochemicals are key to our economy, and we stressed that if we're hit by the Iran sanctions, it would pose grave challenges to our whole economy", the official said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

President Trump says that he wants to get Iran back to the negotiating table.

Salami made the remarks on a day when the authorities in Iran organize anti-U.S. gatherings nationwide, unleashing slogans to mark the 1979 seizure of the USA embassy in Tehran.

The renewed sanctions are designed "to paralyse the (Iran's) economy and keep it backwards. Some may not be so religious but they are sensitive towards domination by foreigners".

"All eyes will be on Iranian exports, whether there will be some cheating around United States sanctions, and on how quickly production will fall", said Riccardo Fabiani, an analyst for Energy Aspects.

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized.

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