Iran draws sting from oil prices

A Chinese vessel approaching beleaguered Iranian tanker Sanchi to help extinguish a fire that started after it collided with a Chinese vessel off China's shores

Oil rose as Opec and its allies were said to plan discussions about fresh production cuts next year, responding to recent increases in oil inventories amid surging USA supply.

Once the waivers expire after 180 days, new waivers are expected to be issued, with a source in China saying his country would likely receive another six months of exemptions, though at a lower rate of around 220,000 bpd. Anyone entering into trade and business activities in these sectors with Iran are also liable to be sanctioned.

The first round of penalties, which included cars, carpets, metals trading and access to the USA dollar, entered force in August. The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). None of the other partners agree with United States decision. All of them maintain that they will continue to trade with Iran. At present, Iran is the third largest supplier of oil to India.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the worldwide community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move. Landlocked Afghanistan also has few better options for importing petroleum products than Iran for the time being. "We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero". He stated that some "temporary allotments to eight jurisdictions" are being given. He, however, added "but only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts". It makes the United States the world's biggest producer of crude oil. It has dropped from 690,000 barrels per day in May 2018 to around 400,000 barrels per day in August this year (just before the 2+2 meeting).

South Korea has averaged over 200,000 bpd of oil imports from Iran so far this year, down from around 350,000 bpd in 2017.

"Bernstein Energy expects "Iranian exports will average 1.4-1.5 million barrels per day (bpd)" during the exemption period", down from a peak of nearly 3 million bpd in mid-2018. Since May, when Trump took Washington out of the nuclear deal, prices of bread, cooking oil and other staples have soared and the value of the rial currency has plunged. "If we sell our oil for $1 less than market price, it will have tens of buyers".

Taiwan is only an occasional importer of Iranian oil, and no details regarding its waivers have been disclosed. This is going to cost India heavily. This is happening due to the rise in global oil prices and the depreciation in the value of the rupee.

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The giving in to United States pressure, which harms India's interests, is now being projected as an achievement.

Some market watchers believe the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation may take steps to reduce supply. We have so many countries that are on our side. This is just whitewashing the truth.

The foreign minister further stated that while previous US Presidents have also displayed "disrespectful attitudes" towards Iran, they have eventually changed their stance, and said the Trump administration will have to do the same.

"Based on credible data, we now know that up to a dozen Iranian tankers have recently disabled their maritime transponders and have effectively gone dark", Hook said on Wednesday.

Prices sank amid fears that the oil market is oversupplied compared to demand and have fallen steadily since the USA government eased sanctions on Iranian oil in October.

The Chabahar Port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India. The other two signatories - Russian Federation and China - are firmly opposed to the sanctions. We will bypass sanctions. The official spokesman for the Chinese government declared that China opposes the unilateral sanctions and reiterated China's "normal cooperation" with Iran. However, this time the United States is alone, and the entire world, except for a few countries, have vowed to maintain business with Iran. This would have been the way to protect India's national interests.

The sanctions, however, will inevitably erode Iran's state finances and raise already high inflation and jobless rates, making life harder for ordinary Iranians.

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