TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The White House said in a statement issued on Monday that the US president would not reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May, a move aimed at bringing Iran’s oil exports to zero.
"The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied," the White House statement said, adding, "We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market."
Following the announcement by the White House, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an announcement during a press conference, detailing the decision on the Iranian oil exports.
"The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets. We stand by our allies and partners as they transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives," Pompeo claimed in his remarks on Monday.
He noted that the US has had "extensive and productive discussions" with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers about ways to ease such transition, saying, "This, in addition to increasing US production, underscores our confidence that energy markets will remain well supplied."
Oil prices spiked after Sunday reports suggested that the waivers would end and remained higher on Monday.
Soon after the US announcement, the global oil market reacted through a sharp rise in prices with international benchmark Brent rising 2.6 percent to $73.78 a barrel after having earlier touched $74.31, highest since early November.
US crude futures also gained 2.4 percent, or $1.52 a barrel, to $65.39. It had earlier touched a high of $65.87, a level not seen since late October.
The US president withdrew Washington in May 2018 from a multilateral nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015. Afterwards, Washington re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.
Last November, the US enforced sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking and energy sector. However, it granted waivers to eight major importers of Iran’s oil, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, fearing market instability.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after announcing the Trump administration's decision, Pompeo reiterated that the United States would no longer grant exemptions to the importers of Iranian oil from US sanctions and there would be no grace period for those economies to comply.
"We're going to zero. We're going to zero across the board," the US secretary of state said, adding, "There are no (oil) waivers that extend beyond that period, full stop."
He once again emphasized that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed their commitment to make sure that oil markets have enough supply and said Washington has been in talks with other countries to help them wind down Iran oil imports.
Iran ready for US sanctions waivers end: Source
Earlier on Monday, a source at Iran's Ministry of Petroleum said that Tehran is prepared for the US decision to end waivers granted to buyers of Iranian crude.
"Whether the waivers continue or not, Iran's oil exports will not fall to zero under any circumstances unless Iranian authorities decide to stop oil exports ... and this is not relevant now," Tasnim news agency quoted the unnamed source as saying.
"We have been monitoring and analyzing all possible scenarios and conditions for the advance of our country's oil exports, and necessary measures have been taken ... Iran is not waiting for America's decision or the lack of it to export its oil," the source added.
"We have years of experience in neutralizing efforts by enemies to strike blows against our country."
Meanwhile, in an interview with Iranian Arabic-language news channel Al-Alam published on Monday, the top commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s Navy said the Strait of Hormuz is an international maritime passage, warning that Iran may close the strategic waterway if prevented from using it.
"According to international law, the Strait of Hormuz is a waterway and we will close it [to other countries] in case we are banned from using it," Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said, adding, "In case of any threat, we will not hesitate to support and defend Iran's waters. We will defend our honor and will take reciprocal measures when it comes to protecting Iran's rights."
Saudi Arabia will coordinate with other producers to ensure adequate oil supply
Meanwhile, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that his country would coordinate with other oil producers to ensure an adequate crude supply and a balanced market.
"Saudi Arabia is closely monitoring the oil market developments following the recent statement from the US government regarding oil export sanctions on Iran," Falih said in a statement.
"Saudi Arabia will coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance," he added.
He reiterated Riyadh's long-standing policy of working towards oil market stability at all times, saying that his country would consult closely with other producers and key oil consuming nations in the next few weeks to ensure a well-balanced and stable oil market.
Turkey says will not respect Iran oil sanctions
Later on Monday, Turkey said it would not respect sanctions on oil imports from Iran, adding that saying they would not serve regional peace and stability.
Taking to his Twitter page, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, noted that US sanctions on Iran's oil exports will only harm the country’s people.
"We do not accept unilateral sanctions and impositions on the issue of how we will establish relations with our neighbors," Cavusoglu said.
Source: Press TV