Iran files complaint with ICJ against U.S. over renewed sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds by the end of the year because of new USA sanctions, putting oil markets under huge strain amid supply outages elsewhere in the world.

"We want people to reduce oil purchases to zero, but in certain cases if people can't do that overnight, we'll consider exceptions", Mnuchin told reporters on Friday, clarifying some USA officials' comments that there would be no exemptions. Mnuchin's comments were embargoed for release on Monday, perhaps to coincide with the visit of the U.S. delegation to Delhi.

It was not immediately clear whether Gokhale requested the United States delegation to consider providing India some waiver from the sanctions.

Iran has lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the United States' reimposition of sanctions, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

European banks have made no comment on the officials' suggestion of offering the opportunity to Iran.

"We've said very specifically, there's no blanket waivers, there's no grandfathering", Mnuchin said, "We want to be very careful in the wind-down around the energy markets to make sure that people have the time". He also added: "The State Department has the ability to issue waivers around significant reductions in the oil markets, that's something that Treasury and State will be doing".

But most analysts still think the sanctions will significantly reduce Iran's crude oil exports with some of the worst case scenarios forecasting a two-thirds drop to only 700,000 barrels per day (bpd).

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at the weekend that Washington had rejected a French request for waivers for its companies operating in Iran, according to Le Figaro.

After softening the tone earlier this month, the USA government appears to be going back to its hardline on sanctions, which threatens to shut in the bulk of Iranian supply.

Iran stayed in the nuclear deal with the West, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following the USA withdrawal, but said it will remain in the deal if the remaining parties to the deal would guarantee Tehran's benefits. He did not name the country he had not yet consulted.

"We agreed to keep up the consultations", the person said, describing them as good and free of tensions.

His comments appeared to be trying to ease popular concerns fueled by Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

The specter of new United States sanctions, particularly those meant to block oil exports that are the lifeline of Iran's economy, has caused a rapid fall in the Iranian currency and triggered street protests over fears economic hardships will soon worsen.

The sudden plunge in oil prices could grant the Trump administration more leeway as it tries to shut in Iranian supply. "There will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for relief.We'll consider it", he told Sky News Arabia during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

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