Washington, Nov 2 (EFE).- The United States’ secretary of state said Friday that Washington will issue waivers to eight countries or groups of states to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil even after the full re-imposition of sanctions on the Persian nation on Nov. 5.
Mike Pompeo said in a conference call with reporters that those jurisdictions would be granted waivers “only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts (with Iran) and have made important moves towards getting to zero crude oil importation.”
The senior US official did not say which countries or groups of states would receive the waivers but noted that an agreement has already been reached with six of these jurisdictions and that negotiations are ongoing with the other two.
In September, the European Union and the five powers that continue to support the Iran nuclear deal – Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany – agreed to create a special mechanism to allow countries to continue to do business with Iran while avoiding the new US sanctions.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also participated on the conference call, said he did not believe significant transactions would be conducted via that payment mechanism but also issued a stark warning.
“Any financial institution, company or individual who evades our sanctions risks losing access to the US financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or US companies,” Mnuchin said.
A new round of sanctions on Iran are due to take effect on Monday following the end of a 180-day wind-down period.
Those include sanctions on petroleum-related transactions with, among others, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products or petrochemical products from Iran.
Sanctions also will be re-imposed on transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions and on Iran’s port operators and shipping and shipbuilding sectors.
Those sanctions were lifted after the signing of a nuclear deal in July 2015 by Iran; the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (US, Russia, China, UK and France) plus Germany; and the European Union.
As part of that deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran received relief from nuclear-related economic sanctions in return for agreeing to, among other things, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.
But in a decision announced on May 8 of this year, President Donald Trump said the US would end its participation in the JCPOA and begin re-imposing sanctions on Iran.
In his remarks, Trump accused the Persian nation of being “the leading sponsor of state terror” and said the JCPOA had “allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”