Washington renews Iran oil ban

SHAFAQNA – Despite the recent softening of pressure on Iran following the tentative Lausanne nuclear accord, the United State stands firm on its position to squeeze Iran with sanctions with an aim to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Barack Obama has renewed U.S. restrictions that forbid foreign financial institutions from purchasing petroleum and petroleum products from Iran, the Western media reported.

Obama explained his decision with increased oil, production following the dramatic fall in global oil prices.

In a decree, issued by his office, the U.S. president said “global economic conditions, increased oil production by certain countries, and the level of (oil) spare capacity” had allowed him to take the decision.

A presidential determination, issued by his office, referred to a report of the U.S. Energy Information Administration sent to Congress on April 30.

“I determine … that there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions,” Obama said.

The statement also referred to a U.S. measure which forbids transactions with Iran.

Under the measure, foreign companies are cut off from the U.S. financial system and face sanctions should they engage in transactions with Iran’s financial institutions.

Iran, which has the world’s fourth largest proven oil reserves and the second biggest gas deposits, was forced to curb its exports to around 1 million bpd from 2.5 million bpd in 2011.

The country expects to boost its output by 1 million barrels per day after a nuclear agreement is reached by the end of June.

However, a preliminary agreement reached in November 2013 allowed Iran to sell around 1 million barrels per day of crude oil.

The renewal of restrictions came despite the agreement under which no new sanctions should be imposed on the Islamic Republic. However, Washington contended the agreement does not include the renewal of previous restrictions.

The world powers and Iran currently hold talks on settling the decades-old nuclear dispute by the end of June.


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