World prepares for US sanctions on Iran

Iranians monitor the stock market at the stock exchange in Tehran on May 8, 2018. Renewed nuclear sanctions would certainly cause severe problems for Iran's economy, but much of the damage has already been done by the uncertainty created by the US and myriad home-grown problems. (AFP / ATTA KENARE)
Updated 12 May 2018
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World prepares for US sanctions on Iran

  • Global shipping companies, traders, insurers and banks look at pulling the plug on business with Tehran after Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
  • Reuters cites sources at global trading companies predicting an imminent drop in Iranian exports due to banking issues, such as availability of trade finance.

LONDON:  US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran is forcing global shipping companies, traders, insurers and banks to look at pulling the plug on business with Tehran, it emerged yesterday.

Swiss-headquartered private shipping group MSC said it would “comply with the (sanctions) timetable set out by the US government.”

Denmark’s Maersk Line said it had ceased acceptance of the specific cargoes blacklisted by the US Treasury this week.

On May 9, President Donald Trump broke with his European allies to announce US withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran brokered by President Obama. Trump disclosed a phased reimposition of punitive sanctions, which will further damage an already weakened Iranian economy.

Among other things, Washington is imposing sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite and raw or semi-finished metals such as aluminium and steel, and coal, Reuters reported. The US will separately re-impose sanctions on the provision of insurance and reinsurance.

Reuters cited sources at global trading companies predicting an imminent drop in Iranian exports due to banking issues, such as availability of trade finance.

A potential decline in oil volumes due to the sanctions could add to upward pressure on oil prices, which have gained almost 20 percent to around $78 per barrel since January. 

The price rise has also been bolstered by a decision by OPEC and Russia to cap production to reduce inventories that had built up during the boom that came to a halt in 2014.

Middle Eastern oil-producing countries have benefited this year from rising oil revenues, giving them headroom to increase spending to stimulate economies that faced austerity in the wake of the collapse of the crude price four years ago. 

Saudi Arabia’s first-quarter statement revealed increased government spending and a jump in central government receipts from new taxes, including VAT.


Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 57 min 52 sec ago
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Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country nation to democracy.
The agreement was signed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement reached earlier this month.
The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition in Sudan after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against him.
“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Ibrahim Al-Amin, a leader in the opposition Forces of Freedom and Change coalition, said after the ceremony.
Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.
The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.