Turkey slams United States move to end waivers on Iran oil imports

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"Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil".

"Since the sanctions in question are principally illegal, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers", the Foreign Ministry said on its website on April 22. It said Iran has intensified consultations with its "European and global partners" and that a "necessary decision" would be announced later, without elaborating. The ministry says a "necessary decision" will be announced later, without elaborating.

The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers last May.

It was not immediately clear how the move would affect Japan, but Japanese refineries put a halt on imports of Iranian oil late last month after buying 15.3 million barrels between January and March ahead of the expiry of the temporary waiver, according to industry sources and data on Refinitiv Eikon.

The Trump administration unveiled its plan Monday to end "energy waivers" that effectively allowed eight foreign governments to purchase Iranian oil; a move created to cripple the Islamic Republic's major exporting sector.

The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, won't be renewed when they expire on May 2. The combined excess production from key Gulf allies can balance out the lost crude from Iran, he added.

It's not concerned about higher oil prices or the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Near 1250 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was at $65.39 a barrel, up 2.2 percent in electronic trading before the market officially opened.

The move spurred both Brent (^BZM) and US crude (^CLF) prices to their highest peaks since at least late October.

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Ritterbusch and Associates, an oil trading advisory firm, said in a morning note that "a complete elimination of Iranian exports is almost impossible and that a reduction beyond current levels will likely prove limited".

"As of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is now importing Iranian crude or condensate", the Washington Post's Josh Rogin reported on Sunday.

Netanyahu said Monday that the move "is of great importance for increasing pressure on the Iranian terrorist regime".

"I think the [US administration's] goal is to have a worldwide coalition against Iran, and to do that, they push Iran to default" on the nuclear deal, said a European diplomat speaking not for attribution.

Tyler Cullis, policy associate at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), called the Trump administration's sanctions policy "evil" and said the goal is to force Iran to walk away from the worldwide nuclear accord, which the White House violated a year ago.

In an effort to ease the market worries, the White House said in the statement that the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) "have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met".

Andrey Baklitskiy, a Middle East expert at the PIR Center in Moscow, said that the USA decision not to extend waivers for Iranian oil has been made with domestic considerations in mind. President Donald Trump reportedly spoke with Khalifa Haftar in recent days, the head of the Libyan National Army, which could rattle oil markets further since it lends some sort of legitimacy to the LNA.

The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran. "The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits", said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But he and his top advisers have been wary of roiling energy markets - and spurring a hike in prices at the pump in the U.S. For that reason, they allowed waivers for Iran's biggest buyers of crude, including China, India and Turkey.

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