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U.S. Warns Russia Against Trying To Help Iran Skirt Oil Sanctions

The United States warned Russia to not even consider helping Iran to evade the U.S. sanctions on Tehran’s oil, a senior U.S. Administration official told the Financial Times.

“Iran might be pushing the idea of Russia selling their oil on the world market to evade sanctions,” FT quoted on Sunday the senior official as saying.  

“I would discourage Russia from even considering this. It would be in Russia’s best interests not to facilitate Iranian evasion of US sanctions,” the official noted.  

Russia and Iran reportedly agreed last month to a deal allowing Iran to evade the U.S. sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported earlier this month, citing a document by the Israeli Foreign Ministry as warning.

According to the ‘secret’ Israeli document, carried by Hadashot TV and later reported by The Times of Israel, at an Iran-Russia-Turkey summit in Tehran in September—hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and attended by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin—Iran and Russia cut a deal, under which Iran would export crude oil to Russia via the Caspian Sea, Russia would refine the oil in its refineries, and then export the products worldwide.

In return for the crude oil supplies from Iran, Russia would provide unspecified trade and service benefits to Tehran, according to the Israeli document, which makes clear that the purpose of this deal is to help Iran to evade the U.S. sanctions on its petroleum industry that will snap back in early November.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with Reuters over the weekend that it would be more difficult for Iranian oil customers to get waivers from the sanctions than it was during the Obama administration.

“I don’t expect we will get to zero in November but I do expect we will eventually get to zero,” Mnuchin said of the U.S. Administration’s efforts to bring Iranian exports down to zero.  

“There have been already very significant reductions in advance of this date,” Mnuchin told Reuters.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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