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U.S. Considers Lifting Oil Sanctions On Iran

Oil

While acknowledging that Iran has so far complied with the nuclear deal it agreed to, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic continues to sponsor terrorism, and an interagency review will evaluate whether continuing to lift sanctions would be in U.S. national security interests.

“Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods. President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

The Secretary of State did not specify how long the review would take, but noted that “when the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue.”

Since some of the international sanctions on Iran were lifted in January 2016, the Islamic Republic has vowed to regain the share of the oil market it had lost, and to reach pre-sanction output levels of around 4 million bpd.

Iran managed to catch a break from OPEC’s production cut deal, after arguing that it was trying to restore market share lost during sanctions—and was allowed to slightly raise production to a ceiling of 3.797 million bpd. Meanwhile, all others—except for Libya and Nigeria—had to cut production, most notably Saudi Arabia, Iran’s archenemy and OPEC’s biggest producer and exporter.

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OPEC’s secondary sources put Iran’s oil output in March at 3.790 million bpd.

In February, the U.S. Department of Treasury slapped new sanctions on Iran, targeting 13 individuals and as many companies in response to an Iranian ballistic missile test just days earlier. The targeted sanctions were not a reversal of the 2015 nuclear deal reached with Iran, but blacklisted Iranian citizens, including members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, two Lebanese, and one Chinese, among others. The targets were alleged to have been involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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