Iranian FM: US likely to extend oil waivers

FNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the dire impacts of oil sanctions against Tehran on the global market, saying that Washington will likely extend the waivers for certain countries to purchase Iranian crude.

Waivers could “be extended. Certainly, the US would not do this for Iran or the nuclear deal, but to prevent extreme price volatility and high oil prices, specially on the verge of the US elections and the special conditions that existed. The US did not mean to push global economy into harsh conditions” (as it would backfire on them), Zarif said in an interview with the Persian-language Jomhouri Eslami newspaper.

Asked about the Europeans’ policy towards Iran and their slow move in implementing the nuclear deal, he said that of course they are at odds and angry with Washington over its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) but “they are not so much interested in paying the price for this policy”.

Elsewhere, Zarif underscored that Iran sees no limitation for the expansion of relations with its neighbors, adding that Tehran is willing to broaden ties with them to the extent they want.

The interview with Zarif was made last week before his resignation from the post and was released on Tuesday.

The US gave waivers to eight major clients of Iranian oil (China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey) after restoring energy sanctions last November.

Ahead of the new set of restrictions, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has said Washington expects all oil purchases from Iran to “go to zero,” but added that the government would “consider waivers where appropriate”.

In relevant remarks in November, President Hassan Rouhani said American officials had admitted their incapability to stop Iran’s crude sales, and the US sanctions would only leave negative impacts on imports of foodstuff, medicine and medical equipment.

“What the Iranian officials said that the US is not able to zero Iran’s oil exports was proved with the US recent admission,” President Rouhani said after a trilateral meeting with the parliament speaker and judiciary chief in Tehran on November 10.

“The US announced that it cannot zero Iran’s oil sales because the oil prices will rise to $150; this is what we had said (before). In this region, either Iran’s oil is exported or others will be in trouble as well,” he added.

President Rouhani referred to the US lies that the foodstuff, drugs and medical equipment were exempted from Washington’s sanctions against Iran, and said, “This is incorrect. When the banking system is sanctioned, everything is affected.”