US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to announce the Trump administration's decision on the request of five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, for an extension of the exemption the US had granted them on sanctions against importing oil from Iran. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Updated 22 April 2019

US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

  • Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were exempted from sanctions until May 2
  • Since November, Italy, Greece and Taiwan have stopped importing oil from Iran

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, officials said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2, three US officials said. The others are China and India.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to US sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Pompeo’s announcement.
The decision not to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials. They said it is intended to further ramp up pressure on Iran by strangling the revenue it gets from oil exports.
The administration granted eight oil sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. They were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.
US officials now say they do not expect any significant reduction in the supply of oil given production increases by other countries, including the US itself and Saudi Arabia.
Since November, three of the eight — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
NATO ally Turkey has made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their US counterparts that Iranian oil is critical to meeting their country’s energy needs. They have also made the case that as a neighbor of Iran, Turkey cannot be expected to completely close its economy to Iranian goods.


Turkey says may begin oil exploration under Libya deal in 3-4 months

Updated 29 May 2020

Turkey says may begin oil exploration under Libya deal in 3-4 months

  • Donmez said Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) would begin operations in areas under its license after the process was completed
  • Turkey could face possible EU sanctions over its operations

ANKARA: Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean within three or four months under a deal it signed with Libya that was condemned by others in the region including Greece, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday.
Libya’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed the maritime delimitation deal last year. Turkey says it creates an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to Libya’s northeast coast, and protects rights to resources.
Greece, Cyprus and others oppose the accord and call it illegal, an accusation Ankara has rejected. The European Union also opposes the maritime deal that was signed alongside an agreement for Turkey to provide military support to the GNA, which has battled forces based in eastern Libya for more than a year.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Turkey’s Fatih oil-and-gas drilling ship to the Black Sea, Donmez said Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), which had applied for an exploration permit in the eastern Mediterranean, would begin operations in areas under its license after the process was completed.
“Within the framework of the agreement we reached with Libya we will be able to start our oil exploration operations there within three to four months,” Donmez said. Turkey’s new Kanuni drill ship would also go to the Mediterranean later this year, he added.
The move could further stoke tensions in the region, where Turkey has been at loggerheads for years with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over ownership of natural resources. Turkey could also face possible EU sanctions over its operations.
Separately, Donmez said the Fatih drill ship would hold its first operation in the Black Sea on July 15, the anniversary of a 2016 failed coup attempt. Friday also marked the anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1453.