The United States has granted exemptions to eight countries allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, as Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s banking, energy and shipping industries.
Pompeo vowed that the US will be “relentless” in pressuring Iran as he announced the list of the countries temporarily exempted from the sanctions during a press conference broadcast live.
Pompeo said, “We have decided to issue temporary allotments to a handful of countries responsible to specific circumstances and to ensure a well-supplied oil market. The US will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.”
He vowed that the US will be “relentless” in pressuring Iran and said each of those countries has already demonstrated “significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months.”
Two of those eight have already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place, he said.
“We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero,” he added.
Over 20 importing nations have zeroed out their imports of crude oil already, taking more than 1 million barrels of crude per day off the market. The Iranian regime to date since May has lost over USD 2.5 billion in oil revenue, he said.
The US on Monday imposed “the toughest ever” sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime’s “behaviour”. The sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.