USA warns nations not to allow Iranian oil tankers

Workers at an onshore Iranian oil facility

On Tuesday, the State Department clarified that Chabahar and an Afghanistan specific railway project (under INSTC) would be kept out of the sanctions for the objective of "development" of Afghanistan.

"I gave some countries a break on the oil".

Early on Monday the USA imposed its "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran that it had earlier lifted after the signing of the nuclear agreement in July, 2015 between Tehran and Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany and the US.

"Europe refuses to allow the USA to be the trade policeman of the world", Le Maire told FT, adding that the European Union needs to affirm its independence in the rift between the European Union and the United States over the sanctions on Iran.

Futures in NY gained 0.6 per cent. Ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gathering in Abu Dhabi this weekend will discuss options for 2019 including the scenario of supply curbs, delegates said.

India has invested heavily in developing Chabahar, which provides strategic access not just to Iran but Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nations southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.

On Monday, the Belgium-based global financial messaging system SWIFT said that it would comply with the US sanctions on Iran and would cut off sanctioned Iranian banks from its network. "We seek to build on our close relationships with both countries as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilizing policies in the region and beyond". Reacting to the Trump administration's decision, United States experts said it was a "right move". We have to ensure that we advance our national security objectives without injuring our economic interests.

"Delhi also made clear that it does not support Iran's destabilising activities in the Middle East or an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and that any involvement in Chabahar will not advance those two agenda", he said.

More US oil will likely come.

However, some trade is still allowed, as the administration has granted waivers for eight major importers to continue buying Iranian petroleum products without penalty for another six months.

Trump's decision has been opposed by European powers as well as other nations including India, which has largely warm relations with Iran. The port project is simply too critical for India and can benefit Afghanistan immensely.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said the US has, after extensive consideration, provided an exception under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act. "So this waiver is squarely aligned with the USA interests", he said.

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