US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE
President Donald Trump said the US would be ending sanction waivers for countries importing Iranian oil. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 23 April 2019

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

WASHINGTON:  US President Donald Trump moved on Monday to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by ending eight countries’ exemption from US sanctions on buyers of crude from Tehran.

China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece will now be subject to full US economic penalties if they buy oil from Iran after May 2.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US wanted to deprive Iran of its lifeline of $50 billion in annual oil revenues by halting all exports. “We are going to zero. We’re going to zero across the board,” he said.

“We’ve made clear — if you don’t abide by this, there will be sanctions. We intend to enforce the sanctions.”

The aim was to pressure Tehran to curtail its nuclear program, halt ballistic missile tests and end its regional meddling in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. “The Trump administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilizing activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies, and security in the Middle East,” the White House said.

The US said it was working with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure the oil market was “adequately supplied.” Pompeo said he was confident of Riyadh’s commitment to making sure there was sufficient supply in the market, and Trump said Saudi Arabia would “more than make up” for the absence of Iranian oil.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom was “monitoring oil market developments” and would coordinate with other producers to ensure a balanced market. Brent crude rose to more than $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November.

Saudi Arabia produces about 9.8 million barrels of oil per day but has the capacity for 12 million, so it could increase production to address any market shortfall, Faisal Mrza, a Saudi-based energy and oil marketing adviser, told Arab News.

“As the world energy industry’s only safety valve, Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer that can compensate for the loss of Iranian barrels,” he said. 

“Historically, Saudi Arabia has successfully proven its ability to maintain balance in the global markets, absorbing any supply shock caused by geopolitical or technical factors.”

(With Agencies)

 


China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases

China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases
Updated 16 January 2021

China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases

China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases
  • China, which largely contained the spread of the coronavirus, has suffered hundreds of infections this month
  • Meanwhile, researchers sent by the World Health Organization are in Wuhan preparing to investigate the origins of the virus

BEIJING: China on Saturday finished building a 1,500-room hospital for COVID-19 patients in five days to fight a surge in infections in a city south of Beijing, state media reported.
The hospital is one of six with a total of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong in Hebei province, the Xinhua News Agency said. All are due to be completed within the next week.
China, which largely contained the spread of the coronavirus, has suffered hundreds of infections this month in Nangong and the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang, southwest of the Chinese capital.
A similar program of rapid hospital construction was launched by the ruling Communist Party at the start of the outbreak last year to set up isolation hospitals in Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first detected in late 2019.
Nationwide, the National Health Commission reported 130 new confirmed cases — 90 of those in Hebei — in the 24 hours through midnight Friday.
There were 645 cases, two of them acquired abroad, being treated in Nangong and Shijiazhuang, according to Xinhua.
In Shijiazhuang, authorities have finished construction of one-third of the rooms in a planned 3,000-room coronavirus facility, state TV said Saturday.
More than 10 million people in Shijiazhuang underwent virus tests by late Friday, Xinhua said, citing a deputy mayor, Meng Xianghong. It said 247 locally transmitted cases were found.
Meanwhile, researchers sent by the World Health Organization are in Wuhan preparing to investigate the origins of the virus. The team, which arrived Thursday, was under a two-week quarantine but was due to talk with Chinese experts by video link.
The team’s arrival was held up for months by diplomatic wrangling that prompted a rare public complaint by the head of the WHO.
That delay, and the secretive ruling party’s orders to scientists not to talk publicly about the disease, have raised questions about whether Beijing might try to prevent discoveries that would hurt its self-proclaimed status as a leader in the anti-virus battle.