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U.S. Vows To Sanction ‘Any Imports of Iranian Crude Oil’

Now that there are no sanction waivers for Iranian oil buyers, the United States will sanction any imports of crude oil from Iran, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said on Friday, reiterating comments he made last month amid reports that China has already imported its first crude oil cargo from Iran that breaches the U.S. sanctions.

“We will sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil,” Hook said in London, as carried by Reuters.   

Last month, Hook said that the United States would sanction any country that tries to buy Iranian oil after the sanction waivers expired on May 2, regardless of whether said country had reached its negotiated cap under the exemptions, clarifying earlier comments that resulted in speculation that the U.S. would allow countries that hadn’t reached their cap of Iranian imports to continue buying oil from Iran until they reach that cap.

Speaking today, Hook echoed his remarks from the end of May, saying, as carried by Reuters:

“We will sanction any illicit purchases of Iranian crude oil.”

Hook also said that the U.S. would be looking to check reports that Iranian crude oil tankers have departed and arrived in China after the U.S. removed all sanction waivers for all Iranian crude oil customers, including the biggest buyer, China.

Earlier this week, an analysis of TankerTrackers showed that Iran had delivered the first crude oil to a Chinese refinery complex since the United States removed as of May all sanction waivers for Iranian oil customers.

According to TankerTrackers, a medium-sized Suezmax vessel, named SALINA, owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), and loaded with around 1 million barrels of crude oil from Iran, departed on May 28. The tanker arrived on June 20 at Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex in China in a first independent tanker-tracking confirmation that China is defying the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on June 29 2019 said:
    The US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook should take a course in superpower diplomacy. Were he to do this, he will find that China is not Djibouti and therefore it doesn’t need to take orders from the United States to import Iranian crude oil. The same logic applies to India, Turkey and many countries in the world.

    Furthermore, he will also learn that China is capable of nullifying the whole US sanctions regime by buying the entire Iranian oil exports of 2.125 million barrels a day (mbd) and paying for them in petro-yuan.

    Mr Hook should understand the limits of his country’s power and influence. May be he should learn a lesson from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who ignored President Trump’s threats of sanctions against her country and went ahead with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which will bring Russian gas supplies under the Baltic Sea to Germany and the European Union (EU).

    He could also learn a salutary lesson from Iran’s defiance of the United States and ability to bypass US sanctions with impunity. He may also learn another lesson from little Lebanon’s rejection of US mediation efforts aiming at imposing an Israeli solution to the demarcation of the land and marine borders between Lebanon and Israel.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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