USA official insists on zero oil imports from Iran

USA official insists on zero oil imports from Iran

Oil prices surged to a almost six-month high after the U.S. government said it would not extend sanctions exemptions to countries importing oil from Iran when they expire in early May.

"We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil", Zarif said, according to AP. Earlier, eight countries which include: South Korea, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Greece, Japan, China, and Italy were given a waiver for a certain period and instructed to find alternatives for their need of oil in the meantime.

Oil prices fell yesterday as record United States output and rising crude stockpiles dampened the impact on markets of tighter United States sanctions on Iran and producer club OPEC's continued curbs on supply. On the supply side, U.S. crude oil production has risen by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since early 2018 to a record of 12.2 million bpd now, making the United States the world's biggest oil producer ahead of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

"It's hard to imagine all exports being cut off, especially since China is still a major buyer of Iranian crude oil", said Jim Burkhard, vice president for oil markets at IHS Markit.

Another country relying heavily on Iranian supply is close US ally South Korea, where petrochemical facilities use Iranian condensate, a super-light form of crude oil.

"America's efforts in sanctioning the sale of Iranian oil won't get anywhere", Khamenei was quoted as saying. Also on cue, in a line heard countless times before, Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said he was guided by oil market fundamentals, not prices, and that Saudi Arabia remained focused on balancing the global oil market.

Zarif said the US should talk to those protecting the strait - Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Iran leader appoints new head of revolutionary guards
In specific threats against Israel, Salami warned that any new war would "result in their termination". Iran responded by designating the USA military's Central Command as a terrorist organization.

They had expected a tougher stance from the Trump administration and had increased their own production to bridge the gap resulting from Iranian oil going off the market.

The comments were in reaction to expectations the two countries would fill any supply gap caused by a tightening of USA sanctions on Iran.Washington has decided not to renew its exemptions from US sanctions to buyers of Iranian oil.

Saudi Arabia said it won't be coming to the rescue of rising gas prices - yet.

Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington's announcement. Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani said "Iran's oil exports will not be zero" despite Trump "playing such games".

When asked if the U.S. pressure campaign on Tehran was aimed at sparking further negotiations or regime change, Mr Zarif said: "The B team wants regime change at the very least".

Zarif's comments about the limited correspondence between his office and the Donald Trump administration comes after he publicly proposed a prisoner swap yesterday, and said he was authorized to negotiate such an exchange. "India will likely take a similar position".