US does not want to harm friends, allies with Iran sanctions, says Bolton

US government understands that a number of countries “may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately,” Bolton said. . (AP)
Updated 02 November 2018
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US does not want to harm friends, allies with Iran sanctions, says Bolton

  • The US is preparing to impose the new sanctions on Iran’s oil industry after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other global powers
  • Bolton said that consequences can already be seen in Iran including the collapse of the rial

WASHINGTON: US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the administration of President Donald Trump wants sanctions on Iran’s crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil.

The US is preparing to impose the new sanctions on Iran’s oil industry after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other global powers earlier this year, but is also considering offering waivers to some allies that rely on Iranian supplies.

“We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.

Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others “may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately.” 

It was a more conciliatory tone about the sanctions from Bolton, a proponent of being tough on Iran and winding down its crude exports to zero.

Still, Bolton said that consequences can already be seen in Iran including the collapse of the rial, its currency. 

“I think it’s important that we not relax in the effort,” he said.

In a presidential memorandum addressed to secretaries of State, Treasury and Energy, Trump said he determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products elsewhere than Iran to permit a reduction in purchases from Iran.

Under the law, the US president must periodically issue a “determination” on whether there is sufficient supply in the market from non-Iranian sources for countries to significantly cut their Iranian purchases.

The administration’s renewed sanctions are set to come into effect on Nov. 5.

Under US law, Washington can sanction the financial institutions of foreign countries that fail to significantly reduce their purchases of Iranian oil and petroleum products.

The purpose of the law, which came into effect during the Obama administration, was to put pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program by forcing its major oil customers to reduce their purchases.

Three of Iran’s five largest buyers of crude — China, India and Turkey — have resisted calls by Washington to end their oil purchases outright.

This week South Korea asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “maximum flexibility” on its request for a waiver to prevent companies there from being hit by the sanctions. 


Daesh claims Syria attack that killed 14, including 2 US soldiers

Updated 58 min 49 sec ago
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Daesh claims Syria attack that killed 14, including 2 US soldiers

  • Seven civilians died in the attack, while 10 others were wounded
  • A member of the US-led military was killed, and another was severely injured

BEIRUT: A blast struck near a US-led coalition patrol in Syria’s northern city of Manbij on Wednesday, and a war monitor said 14 people were killed including two Americans.
An Daesh-affiliated web site, Amaq, said an attacker with an explosive vest had struck a foreign military patrol in a suicide attack.
Reuters could not independently verify a report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 14 people had been killed in the attack including two US soldiers. The coalition could not be immediately reached for comment.
Last month, US President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria after concluding Daesh had been defeated there. The announcement rattled allies in the region and top US officials, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis who quit.
Two witnesses described Wednesday’s blast to Reuters. The US-backed, Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council militia that controls the town said there was preliminary information that people had been injured in Wednesday’s attack.
Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish YPG militia since they took it from Daesh in 2016. It is located near areas held by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkey.
One of the witnesses said there was a “heavy” presence of military aircraft over Manbij following the blast, which took place near a vegetable market.